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Quick start

This is a brief guide to get you started if you are unfamiliar with online archives, or get stuck. The archive consists of thousands of individual items that are grouped together in collections. Collections keep items together in way that represents the way memorabilia was brought to the archive to be digitised. Collections vary in size and often consist of items regarding one individual or family.  

There are many ways to explore the IBCC Digital Archive. Items can be accessed by typing keywords into a search box, by browsing maps for items about specific places, or by searching tags that group items with shared details together.  

Search items

Type a search term into the keyword search box. Many oral history interviews and documents have been transcribed. Other keywords have been added in titles, descriptions and tags. If a word occurs in the archive, this search will find instances of it.

The search box default is a keyword search. If ‘ground personnel’ is typed in, the archive will be searched for both ‘ground’ and ‘personnel’.

The search can be refined to an exact match by clicking the three dots to the right of the search box and selecting ‘exact match’. Now the search will only find instances of ‘ground personnel’.

Browse by tag

Tags are a device for linking items sharing something in common across collections.  Tags include aircraft types, RAF stations, job roles, people, places and events. They also include abstract concepts such as ‘love and romance’, ‘fear’ and ‘physical training’.

The bigger the term the more hits there are in the archive.

Using the ‘Ctrl+F’ keyboard shortcut may help you find specific tags.

Geolocated items

The IBCC Digital Archive can also be explored geographically. Aerial photographs have been geo-located, and items which mention specific places can be also be discovered using a map.

Click on ‘Geolocated items’ in the menu on the left.  This will bring up two options, Places and Aerial Photographs. 

Places: scroll and zoom over the map, click on the circle, then click on the name of the place. This lists items in the archive that are about this place.

Aerial photographs: Scroll and zoom over the map, click on a shape to see the photograph.

Browse collections

Sort by title: switches between alphabetical A-Z and Z-A

Sort by date added: lists collections either oldest or newest first.

Use the search box on the bottom left to search for a named collection. Collections are named after the person involved, surname first.