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Help. Using queries and filters

Unlike web pages, in which information is normally presented as a narrative, the IBCC Digital Archive publishes items in a structured way. Information is displayed by using fields, which are consistently populated. This allows sophisticated retrieval options via the advanced search page.

Scroll to the first 'Narrow by specific fields' box. In the drop-down menu next to 'select below' you will see possible options to filter hits. Each of these is a search option and you can choose just one, or select two or more in combination by using the 'add a field' button.

Fields are defined as follows:

Title: This narrows searches to words that occur only in the title.
Description: This narrows searches to words that occur only in the description field.
Transcription: This narrows searches to words that occur only in transcriptions of oral histories and written documents.
Creator: This narrows searches to the person or entity responsible for creating an item. 

When item was created (yyyy-mm-dd): This is the actual date the item was made, the date a letter was written, a photograph taken etc. All dates are recorded in the format yyyy-mm-dd. For example, 1 June 1943 should be entered as 1943-06-01 (note the leading zero). Partial dates can be searched for:

Examples:

When item was created (yyyy-mm-dd): | is exactly | 1944-12-24

This will filter for items made on Christmas Eve 1944.

When item was created (yyyy-mm-dd): | starts with | 1944-12

This will filter for items made in December 1944.

When item was created (yyyy-mm-dd): | starts with | 1944

This will filter for items made in 1944.

Language: the archive captures languages in abbreviated form, by using a three-letter code:

ces (used for Czech)
dan (Danish)
deu (German)
eng (English)
fra (French)
hrv (Croatian)
hun (Hungarian)
ita (Italian)
lat (Latin)
nld (Dutch)
nor (Norwegian)
pol (Polish)
rus (Russian)
slk (Slovak)
slv (Slovenian)
srp (Serbian)
swe (Swedish)
wln (Walloon)

Example:

Language | is exactly | deu

This will filter for items in German only.

Type: items can be searched for by their type, e.g. the intended use. Type can have any of the following values:


Artwork

Any artistic expression to be appreciated for its aesthetic qualities. Examples: paintings, drawings, sketches, caricatures, cartoons etc.


Map

Any representations of a portion of the Earth upon a flat surface. Examples: escape map, road map, railroad map etc.


Map. Navigation chart and navigation log

Any representations of a portion of the Earth upon a flat surface, especially for navigation purpose. Examples: navigation map, weather map, navigation chart.


Moving image

A visual work that has the appearance of movement. Examples: period film footage, oral history interviews in video form.


Photograph

An image recorded by means of on a light-sensitive material regardless of the process used. Examples: transparencies, photo prints etc.


Physical object

A three-dimensional object normally kept as memorabilia. Examples: tools, lucky charms, models, keepsakes, pieces of equipment etc.


Physical object. Clothing

Clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Examples: uniforms, footwear, headgear etc.


Physical object. Decoration

Any formally recognized marks of honour denoting heroism, meritorious or outstanding service or achievement. Examples: awards, decorations, medals, badges etc.


Sound

Anything primarily intended to be heard. Example: oral history interviews in audio form.


Technical aid

A set of instructions - published or otherwise officially issued - intended to improve the quality of a task or to teach the correct use of equipment, machinery or weaponry. Examples: workbooks, reference manuals, instructions, hand-outs, tutorials etc.

Text

Any document primarily intended to be read.


Text. Correspondence

Any kind of written communication, regardless of its medium and format. Examples: aerograms, postcards, letters, telegrams etc.


Text. Diary

A record of events, arranged by date, reporting what happened over the course of a period and normally intended to remain private or to have a limited circulation. Entries in a diary are discrete and usually written shortly after the events. Examples: diaries, journals etc.


Text. Log book and record book

A record of events marked with the time of an event or action of military significance. Examples: crew logbooks, daybooks, operations record books etc.


Text. Memoir

Any kind of personal remembrances, organised as a continuous narrative, usually based on memory and written after the events recalled. Examples: memoirs, recollections etc.


Text. Personal research

A secondary source that collates, summarizes, evaluates, or discusses pieces information from other sources. The author did not usually take part in the events described. Examples: notes for personal use, drafts, speech notes etc.


Text. Poetry

A written text that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke emotive responses.


Text. Service material

Any document issued by an official authority regarding the service life of a specific individual. Examples: enlistment, health, awards, disciplinary or discharge papers; tax forms and extract of service records etc.


Text. Training material

A set of handwritten notes, technical drawings, schematics and procedures, prepared by an individual for their personal use. Examples: notes, hand drawings, handwritten manuals, step-by step procedures, troubleshooting guides etc.

Examples:

Type | is exactly | Photograph

This will filter for photographs only.

Type | starts with | Text

This will filter for text of any kind, regardless of subdivisions.

Force: Items can be refined according the relevant military force:

Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana
British Army
Civilian
Dainippon Teikoku Rikugun Kōkūbutai
Free Norwegian forces
Polskie Siły Powietrzne
Regia Aeronautica
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force. Balloon Command
Royal Air Force. Bomber Command
Royal Air Force. Coastal Command
Royal Air Force. Fighter Command
Royal Air Force. Training Command
Royal Air Force. Transport Command
Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Indian Air Force
Royal Navy
Royal New Zealand Air Force
South African Air Force
United States Army
United States Army Air Force
Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht. Kriegsmarine
Wehrmacht. Luftwaffe

Examples:

Force | is exactly | Royal Air Force. Bomber Command

This will filter for Bomber Command only.

Force | starts with | Royal Air Force

This will include all commands.

If you need to browse all items about a specific force please see the relevant menu.

Where: This is where an event took place. 

Examples:

Where | is exactly | France--Paris

This will filter for items about Paris.

Where | starts with| Spain

This will filter for items about Spain, including generic references to the whole country and to all places within its borders such as Spain--Madrid, Spain--La Línea de la Concepción etc.

The Archive uses Library of Congress Subject headings for all geographical locations: they normally have the form Country--Place (e.g. France--Dunkerque, England--London, Germany--Berlin, Victoria--Melbourne, Scotland--Elgin etc.). Usage reflects contemporary boundaries and/or present official form, therefore Poland--Gdańsk instead of Germany--Danzig, Vietnam--Ho Chi Minh City instead of Vietnam--Saigon. Check the online database for the form used, which may not be the one you are familiar with.

When (yyyy-mm-dd): This is when an event took place. For example, an interview recorded in 2017 may refer to events in 1945. All dates are recorded in the format yyyy-mm-dd. For example, 1 August 1944 should be entered as 1944-08-01 (note the leading zero). Partial dates can be searched for. 

Examples:

When (yyyy-mm-dd) | is exactly | 1943-07-01

This will filter for items about events that took place exactly on 1 July 1943.

When (yyyy-mm-dd) | contains | 1943-07

This will filter for items about events that took place in July 1943, regardless of day.

When (yyyy-mm-dd) | contains | 1943

This will filter for items about events that took place in 1943.

Combinations of keywords, narrowed by other fields and / or tags can be used. The examples below are for guidance only, the system allows for a great degree of customisation to suit particular needs.

1) Combining tags

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

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Search by Tags

Halifax; fuelling

This will retrieve items tagged Halifax and fuelling.

  • Tags must be separated by a semicolon.

 

2) Filtering tags. Type

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

Type | is exactly | Photograph

Search by Tags

RAF Waddington

This will retrieve photographs tagged RAF Waddington.

  

3) Filtering tags. Language

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

Language | is exactly | pol

Search by Tags

propaganda

This will retrieve propaganda materials in Polish.

 

4) Filtering tags. Where

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

Where | contains | Germany

Search by Tags

lynching

This will retrieve items about instances of lynching in Germany.

 

5) Filtering tags. When

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

When (yyyy-mm-dd) | starts with | 1944-03

Search by Tags

bale out

This will retrieve items about instances of aircrew baling out in March 1944.

 

6) Filtering for a specific time and place. Example 1

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

Where | contains | France

AND | When (yyyy-mm-dd)| contains | 1945

Search by Tags

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This will retrieve items about France in 1945.

  • The option selected (i.e. contains) retrieves all places in France such as France--Paris, France--Lyon, France--Dunkerque etc., also including generic references to the country as a whole.
  • The option selected (i.e. contains) retrieves all 1945 dates, included incomplete ones such as 1945, 1945-05, 1945-05-02 etc.
  • The query can be further refined by including keyword(s) and/or tag(s).

 

7) Filtering for a specific time and place. Example 2

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

Where | is exactly | Italy--Turin

AND | When (yyyy-mm-dd) | contains | 1943-08

Search by Tags

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This will retrieve items about Turin in August 1943.

  • The option selected (i.e. is exactly) retrieves only items about Turin ignoring every other place in Italy and also generic references to the country as a whole.
  • The option selected (i.e. contains) retrieves all August 1943 dates, irrespective of the day of the month.
  • The query can be further refined by including keyword(s) and/or tag(s)

 

8) ‘On this day’

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

When (yyyy-mm-dd) | ends with | 05-01

Search by Tags

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This will retrieve instances of items about the first day of May, irrespective of year.

  • See also the timelines.

  

9) Filtering keyword search. Item type.

Search for Keywords

Ormerod

Narrow by Specific Fields

Type | is exactly | Sound

Search by Tags

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This will retrieve instances of a person named Ormerod in audio materials only, such as an oral history interview.

  • Be aware that not all oral interviews are transcribed.

 

10) Filtering keyword search. Reducing ambiguity

Search for Keywords

thread

Narrow by Specific Fields

Type | is exactly | Text. Training material

Search by Tags

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This query will retrieve instances of threads as part of machinery.

  • Threads intended as haberdashery are more likely to appear in other item types, such as Text. Correspondence.

 

11) Filtering keyword search. Force

Search for Keywords

Gildersleve

Narrow by Specific Fields

Force | is exactly | Royal Air Force. Balloon Command

Search by Tags

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This will retrieve documents about a person named Gildersleve, who served in Balloon Command. People with the same name attached to other commands are ignored.

 

12) Filtering keyword search. Transcription only

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

Transcription | contains| bumf

Search by Tags

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This limits searches to a corpus of authentic, unabridged period material consisting of transcriptions of oral histories interviews and written documents.

  • We strive to produce descriptive information that is accessible to everyone, avoiding slang, abbreviations, archaism, colloquialisms, and force-specific vocabulary. However, these words are scrupulously retained in transcriptions of textual and spoken material.

13) Excluding places

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

Where | starts with | Germany

AND | When (yyyy-mm-dd) | does not contain | Germany--Berlin

Search by Tags

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This query will retrieve items about all Germany, excluding Berlin.

  • The query can be further refined by including keyword(s) and/or tag(s)

 

14) Combining places

Search for Keywords

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Narrow by Specific Fields

Where | starts with | Connecticut

OR | Where | starts with | Maine

OR | Where | starts with | Massachusetts

OR | Where | starts with | New Hampshire

OR | Where | starts with | Rhode Island

OR | Where | starts with | Vermont

Search by Tags

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This query will retrieve items about New England.

  • The query can be further refined by including keyword(s) and/or tag(s)
  • This strategy can also be used for regions such as the Far East, Horn of Africa, the Balkans, Middle East etc.

 

Top tips:

  • Remember to use only tags already in the system, otherwise the query will return zero hits. See the alphabetical list of tags.
  • If you haven’t found a suitable tag, then type any keyword(s) of your choice in the keyword field. Be aware that this will degrade retrieval quality. The reason is that tags: 1) are pre-selected by staff and used consistently across all collections; 2) are added only to denote substantial content and not just passing references.
  • If you need to browse for a specific item type (diaries, logbooks, maps etc.), see the FAQ page, question 12.
  • Royal Air Force establishments are captured as tags, not places. They can also be accessed through the relevant menu.
  • Wide areas are normally not captured. This includes hemispheres, continents, regions (Far East, Horn of Africa, the Balkans, Middle East etc.) and fronts (the Eastern Front etc.). The FAQ page, questions 15 and 16, provides some workarounds.
  • The full date of some items has not always been captured in the first place. For instance, a letter may be dated June 1945 or a photograph captioned 1940. Search for partial dates to retrieve these items.
  • Items about a specific time frame are described by a broadened date. For instance, a document about events from 10 March 1943 to 28 March 1943 has date 1943-03; spring-summer 1943 is captured as 1943; the period 1943-1946 is recorded by using four date iterations: 1943; 1944; 1945; and 1946.
  • Remember that not all Archive items can be dated or located. The FAQ page, question 17, provides advice on how to discover more relevant documents.