A new way to search the Library and Archives Canada collections

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has just released its newest search tool, Collection SearchBETA, and is inviting you, as a member of the public, to try it out and provide your feedback. This new interface allows users to search through Library records and Archive records, including items from many of the different specialized databases at LAC, like the William Lyon Mackenzie King diaries; Film, Video and Sound database; and Cabinet Conclusions.

The new Collection SearchBETA enhances user experience by adding a ‘tab’ interface to explore the entire collection with just one search term or phrase. There are also some new features like the ability to download or print your search results. Simply navigate forward and back between the records you’ve found, and refine your search results by individual year.

A screen-capture of the new Collection SearchBETA interface, showing Archives results for the search term “vimy ridge.”

A screen-capture of the new Collection SearchBETA interface, showing Archives results for the search term “vimy ridge.”

Some important things to note about the new Collection SearchBETA:

  • This is a BETA website—there may be some technical issues as we continue to improve this new search interface—please continue to use our site and be patient as we make adjustments and improvements!
  • For now, the Collection SearchBETA is a simple keyword search interface. For advanced search capability and the ability to perform Boolean searches, you can continue to use our existing Advanced Library Search and Advanced Archives Search tools.
  • You can now search most of the items in our collections from one single location and we will continue to add to the list, but not everything is accessible via the Collection SearchBETA just yet. For an up-to-date list of what the Collection SearchBETA includes, check out  the about page.

Try it out and let us know what you think using the feedback link on the Collection SearchBETA home page—we’re eager to hear your thoughts so we can continue to improve this new tool.

Have you noticed a change to our Archives Search and Image Search?

We have started making changes to our Archives Search and Image Search to improve users’ online experience. This will enable you to get more reliable, timely, pertinent, consistent and accurate results.

The interface of Archives Search and Image Search will remain largely the same. You may, however, notice a few changes:

  • Search results will remain the same though they may be ordered differently.
  • The new Image Search will display results in a more user-friendly way.
  • The new main Archives Search results page will provide an easier and a more efficient way to view digitized textual records, eliminating the need for extra searches and viewing via Image Search.

Is there information that you cannot find with the new Archives Search and Image Search? Have you come across any broken links? Help us improve the Archives Search and Image Search by submitting your comments, suggestions or ideas online.

Discover Finding Aids—Part Three: Searching within a Finding Aid

As we mentioned in our previous article “Discover Finding Aids – Part Two,” finding aids may be accessed through the hyperlinked number found in the “consists of” field in Archives Search. This link takes you to the next level down in the hierarchy, the lower-level descriptions.

Browsing through finding aids in this manner can be done quickly when there are a small number of lower-level descriptions. You can use the filters on the right-hand side of the search result list to sort by title or name, for example, or to limit the list to a particular decade.

However, for other finding aids, there may be thousands of lower-level descriptions and you won’t necessarily want to browse through them all.

Fortunately, help is at hand!

There is a way to keyword search only within these lower-level descriptions. This can be a very useful strategy when there are thousands of them.

First, go to the “finding aid” field description in Archives Search and jot down the finding aid number.

Screen capture of the finding aid section of a record description in Archives Search, identifying the electronic finding aid number.

Next, go to the Advanced Search page.

■ Select “finding aid number” from the drop-down menu and enter the finding aid number you wrote down in the first search box.
■ Enter your keyword search terms in the second search box.

Finally, click the “Submit” button.

Screen capture of the Archives Advanced Search box, indicating a finding aid number (24-60) and the keyword (Saskatoon).

Remember, this strategy is for searching finding aids that have been entered into Archives Search as lower-level descriptions in the “consists of” field. This strategy will not work for all finding aids.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Clarification for Film, Video and Sound Recordings

Our experts would like to add some clarifications to our earlier post: Lights, Camera, Action! Searching for Film, Video and Sound recordings.

Some published audiovisual material, such as feature films, can be found through the Film, Video and Sound Recordings database.  Some can be found in Library Search.  It is therefore recommended that you search both.

Fonds and accession records of items searchable on the Film, Video and Sound link can also be found using Archives Search.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Lights, Camera, Action! Searching for Film, Video and Sound Recordings

If you’re looking for information about audiovisual recordings in the archival collection of Library and Archives Canada, use our Film, Video and Sound database, which contains details on individual audiovisual recordings that cannot be found in our Archives Search.

If you are looking for published audiovisual recordings, such as commercial film or television production, use Library Search.

Tips:

  • It is not yet possible to view the recordings online. Please see our blog post on How to Consult Material that IS Not Yet Available Online for details.
  • In the Film, Video and Sound database, the statement No consultation copies available indicates that a consultation copy must be made before you can consult or order a copy of the document. This will take approximately six weeks.

*Please consult our clarification regarding this article.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to Search for Images Online

Did you know that you can search for images in our collection online, simply by using a “copy negative number”?

What is a copy negative number?

Copy negative numbers are used to identify a photograph or a work of art in our collection. They usually start with a C-, a PA-, or an e number, such as:

  • C-041979
  • PA-005001
  • e002505688

Copy negative numbers are usually included along with the image in the photo credit in books, articles or online.

So what do you do if you have found a copy negative number, in a book or online, and would like to know if Library and Archives Canada holds this image? How do you get to the image’s description in our database?

It’s simple, just follow these tips:

You can search Archives Search by copy negative number; however, there is a trick to it…

  • C- and PA- numbers must have six digits after the hyphen in order for our database to recognize them.
  • Zeros should be added at the beginning of a shorter number to create a number with six digits. For example, if you see PA-5001 you need to enter PA-005001.
  • Copy negatives starting with an “e” do not follow the six-digit rule (they do not require a hyphen either).
  • Look under the heading entitled “Conditions of Access” for the copy negative number starting with C- or PA-, or under “Terms of Use” for e numbers.
  • You will need the copy negative number to order a photographic reproduction or a digital image of a work of art.

For more information, read our blog post How to Find Photographs Online for other quick hints to help you search for photographs.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to Find Photographs Online

Did you know that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) boasts an impressive photographic collection?  Here is just a sampling of what you can discover:

  • Canadian life and culture illustrated in over 25 million photographs
  • A total of 500,000 individually described and searchable photographs
  • Digitized images of 80,000 photographs available online
  • Photo albums arranged by theme on Flickr

Follow these easy steps to get started:

  1. Go to Archives Search.
  2. Enter your keywords in the search box.
  3. From the Type of material drop-down menu, select Photographic material and then Submit. Your search will generate a list of results.
  4. Select the underlined titles to access the full description of a photograph. Descriptive records display images of photographs that have been digitized.

Tips

Tidbit

Our Photography  section offers a vast selection of tools and resources to help you discover the LAC photographic collection.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News”.

Summary of comments received in French between July 1, 2014 and September 30, 2014

  • A reader from France is asking if he can copy photographs found on LAC website or its Flickr account for a commemorative exhibit on November 11th. He also mentions that he has done research on 3 Canadian soldiers (Kenneth Douglas Stephenson, Fred Plummer and James Archibald Marshall) who died in 1918 and are all buried in the cemetery of La Sentinelle, a locality of the north of France.