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Exploring the Online Collection

Seaching the Online Collection allows you to find objects and documents that are in our museum's and library's collections. These items are stored in a database and are all consistently documented, cataloged and interpreted. Searching the Online Collection is NOT a general search throughout all the pages of this site.

How the Online Collection is Searched

Every object and document in our collection has been cataloged in a database that stores information in the following fields:

  • interpretive label
  • title
  • dates
  • author or creator
  • topic and subtopic
  • item type
  • place name
  • process or materials
  • accession number

When a text search is performed the search engine looks into each data field to find matches. Because of the thorough and inclusive nature of this search, unexpected results might be returned. For example, if you entered "wood" into the text field you could find a match in any of the following fields:

  • title field: the item is titled "Spirit of the Woods."
  • material field: the item is made out of wood.
  • creator field: the item is made by or written by someone named "Christopher Woods."

Expanding a Search

If a word or phrase entered into the text search field has variations or archaic versions, the search engive will offer alternative words on the search results page by which you can expand your search. For example, if you search for "indian" you will be invited to expand your search to include "native american" and "native people." By following these links, a new search will be conducted using the suggested terms.

Ranking of Search Results

The items found from conducting a search are presented in a ranked sequence on the Search Results page. In this way the items are ordered from the more obvious matches to the less obvious matches. For example, a search for "chair" will place any item with the word "chair" in its title at the top of the list. A painting called "Portrait of Roland Stebbins" is found near the end of the list because the word "chair" is only found in the description field where it states that the subject is sitting in a red chair.

The data fields are ranked in the following order:

  • Title
  • Creator / author
  • Topic
  • Sub-topic
  • Item Type
  • Material
  • Place Name
  • Transcription
  • Interpretive Label
  • Inscription
  • Notes
  • Description
  • Provenance
  • Reference
  • Signature
  • Significance Note
  • Accession Book Entry
  • Accession Number

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