How do I search the catalogue?

To carry out a quick search simply type your search term into the catalogue search box in the top right hand corner and click the search button. This will carry out a search in the title, description and date fields of each record in our catalogue.

Advanced Search
You can also use the advanced search function to carry out a more detailed search using different and specific fields. These are:

Any Text: Use this to search all text (rather than numbers) in all fields in the catalogue. It is likely to retrieve the largest number of results.

Catalogue Reference: if you know a particular reference for the collection or document use this search box.

Title: All catalogue entries for collections or documents have a title. Typing a search term in this box allows a search of all or part of the text in the Title field only. At collection level this is likely to contain details such as the name of a parish, town, school, charity, business or family. For example a search for `Beaminster’ will retrieve all records with this word in the title including Beaminster Parish, Beaminster School, Beaminster WI, Beaminster Manors etc.

Description: This is used in the catalogue entry to expand on details in the Title field therefore many contain more names of places and people and sometimes a summary of the document.

Date: Specific years or a range of years, e.g. 1530-1540 or 19th century, can be entered in this search box.

Search results
The search results are presented as a list. If they extend to more than one page click on Next and Previous to move between the pages.

Click on a result to see its full details. Click on the Catalogue Reference number to see how the document fits in to the rest of the collection.

Viewing original documents
Make a note of the full details of any document of interest; the most important information is the Catalogue Reference, but the Title is also useful. Please see our website for information on visiting Dorset History Centre to view original documents.

Please note that some documents may be closed to public access for legal reasons or due to confidentiality issues, so it is worth checking this before you visit. In some instances you will only be able to view a copy of a document.

If you are unable to find what you are looking for please contact us for further guidance.

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