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!