Search Finding Aids
How to Navigate Finding Aids
The Philadelphia Area Archival Research Portal (PAARP) is the most comprehensive resource for discovering archival materials in the region. Originally created by the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) for use by its own members, today the Philadelphia Area Archival Research Portal hosts finding aids to archival collections held at well over one hundred distinct organizations. PAARP serves as a single, convenient access point to find archival collections at large colleges and universities, libraries, and museums with professional staff, as well as volunteer-run neighborhood historical societies and community organizations with small archives, and everything in between. PAARP reunites the documentary fragments of Philadelphia's past. However, it is important to note that these are not always the only finding aids in existence for participating repositories. Other finding aids may be available via individual repositories.
The Philadelphia Area Archival Research Portal has a faceted search interface that allows you to filter searches by selecting collection - specific criteria. For instance, a researcher could browse finding aids by the part of the world they document, the topics they address, the person who donated the collection, or the creator of the collection. These "facets" appear in lists on the right side of the page.
Begin with the search box: One way to begin the search process is to search for a keyword using the "Search Collections" box. You can then apply one or more of the facets to narrow down the list of results.
Begin with the facets: Another way to begin is to select a facet first, which will bring up all the finding aids that share that facet. You can apply additional facets and enter keywords in the "Search Collections" box to narrow the results.
Search for related items: If you've found a finding aid that meets your research interests and would like to see more like them, click on the "Find Related Items" tab. From there, you will see a list of topics, places, people and dates featured in this finding aid that might appear in other collections as well.
About faceted searching
- Each selected facet will be displayed at the top of the list under "Currently Used Filters." Selecting an additional facet will run a search for a new criterion within the existing set of results, and, along with a new list of results, the facet options will change to reflect the records and facets available in the new results set.
- To see additional options for any given facet, click on the word "browse" in that individual facet's box. This will bring up a list of all the options for that facet. Click on any facet to add it to your search criteria.
- To remove a selected facet at any stage in the process, click the red x-dot () next to that facet in the "Currently Used Filters" list at the top of the column.
Advanced Search Techniques
The search box at the top of the page will return relevance ranked results based on the terms you enter. There are some additional techniques that you can use to focus your results.
1. You can use the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT to combine search terms.
- lecture AND notes will return only results with both words
- lecture OR notes will return results with either word
- lecture NOT notes will return results that contain the first word but not the second
Note: The operators (AND, OR, NOT) must be entered in all caps.
2. Use quotes to search for specific phrases like
- "lecture notes"
- "underwater archaeology"
3. Use * to find variations on your search term
- bankrupt* will find: bankrupt and bankruptcy
- archaeolog* will find: archaeology, archaeologist, archaeological