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Help Page

Welcome to the help page for our museum online collections. Our online collections’ database holds information about a significant number of objects in our diverse collections, including multimedia and further details.

There are a number of different ways to search the collections database:

  • The basic search is a simple keyword search of the key fields in the museum’s collections database.
  • The advanced search is similar to the basic search but allows for more complex queries.
  • The field search allows searches which are targetted on one or more of the key database fields.

For a more complete description of these search options, see below.

Basic search

The basic search option is a keyword search which performs an OR search on the following data fields in our collection: Summary Data, Main Title, Date, Primary Inscription, Provenance, Collection Title, Material, Brief Description, Accession Number, Other Given Number, and Size.

It also includes options for listing only those object records that contain multimedia details and for displaying thumbnail images in the results.

Advanced Search

The advanced search is a more sophisticated version of the basic. It searches the same fields as basic search but allows for more complex queries combining AND, OR, NOT and exact phrase searches. As with the basic search, there are tick boxes for listing only those object records that contain multimedia details and for displaying thumbnail images in the results.

Field Search

The field search allows the user to perform an AND search on any of the following data fields in our collection: Inventory Number, Title, Creation Date, Creator Name, Primary Inscription, Provenance, Collection Group, Brief Description, Material, Accession Number, Other Given Number. There is also a pull-down menu with an option of displaying 10, 20 (default), 50, or 100 results per page; it is also possible to only search for records with multimedia (and include images in the results).

Search terms

All search terms containing two or more words uses an AND function. For example, searching for “astrolabe habermel” in the Title field in the Field Search searches for all objects where the Title field contains “astrolabe” and “habermel”.

Comparing Search Methods & Results

In order to maximise your search results, try different combinations of terms, fields, and search options. For instance, to search for a valve by Marconi or one of the Marconi Companies you could search for the ‘marconi valve’ in the Basic Search or you could search for title ‘valve’ and creator ‘marconi’ in the Field Search. Different results are returned for each search.

Search Results

Search results return a list of objects (if any) matching the search terms. Objects are usually sorted by Inventory Number and the default list view displays them in the format Inventory Number; Main Title; Image thumbnail (optional), with the Main Title being a link to the individual object record with more details (see below). The Main Title is a link to the object record.

The default setting display 20 object records per page but this can be changed in the advanced and field search options and also in the results list.

Search pages show details of the current object record links displayed in the format of x to y of z where x is the first record of displayed on the current page; y is the last record of displayed on the current page; and z is the total number of objects in the search. Search pages can be navigated by using the ‘<< previous page’ and ‘next page >>’ links.

Object Records

The object record displays the Main Title field in the header bar with a multimedia image (if available) and the Main Title also being displayed at the top of the record. The following fields are listed below this: Inventory Number, Creation Date, Creator’s Name, Primary Inscription, Provenance, Place, Accession Number, Brief Description, Collection Group, Material, Other No, Narratives (if any), Physical Description, Multimedia files (if any). Any null or empty fields are not displayed.

Narratives

The narrative record displays the Main Title field in the header bar with a multimedia image and the Main Title also being displayed at the top of the record. The following fields are listed below this: Narrative (text), Related Authors (if any), Related Objects (if any). Any null or empty fields are not displayed.

Multimedia

At present, the museum’s selection of multimedia consists mainly of image files. More detailed versions of images can be seen by clicking on any image link.

Image Ordering

The Museum welcomes requests to borrow items from its collections and also provides an image ordering service.