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How to search for Archival and Manuscript Materials in the Five College Libraries Catalog and Online Finding Aids

{Note: the links on this page will open in a second browser window so that you can easily refer back to these instructions}

Searching the Online Finding aids

From the Home page of the Five College Archives and Manuscripts (FCAM) Web site, you can search the entire database of finding aids by keyword. This will search all finding aids for all the Five Colleges. To limit your search to the Sophia Smith Collection, click on "Advanced Search." There you can also refine your query to search by individual, organization or family name (see our Alphabetical Lists of collections for the correct form of name to use), collection title, and subject terms (see the FCAM Web site's Help section for details on how to compose a search query).

If your search is successful, you will retrieve a list of finding aid titles with brief collection descriptions. You are given two options:  to "Browse finding aid" (view each section of the finding aid in a separate screen), or to "View entire finding aid" in one screen. Depending on the size of the finding aid, and speed of your internet connection, it may take several minutes for the full finding aid to be download.

If you do select "View entire finding aid," you can then search by keyword using your browser's search function:  in Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, or Mozilla Firefox:  click Edit - Find (or Control-F).

You'll have to use your browser's "Back" button to return to the search results page and view another finding aid.

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Searching the Five College Libraries Catalog

The Five College Libraries Catalog is searchable by personal names, collection title, subject, keywords, or journal title. The Catalog record includes a link to the corresponding finding aid if one is available online. You may search all Five Colleges or limit your search to Smith College. For detailed search tips see the Five College Catalog online tutorials.

Author search:
The author of a collection is the creator, whether an individual, family, or organization. See our Alphabetical Lists of collections for the correct form of name to use.
Subject search
Use the Subject search to search for topics, personal names, organizational names, or place names represented in collections. A Subject search will only search the Library of Congress subject headings listed in the catalog record (example: Missionaries--China). It is more likely to pinpoint those collections that are pertinent to your topic as these are specific terms selected to highlight the most significant topics relevant to the collection.
Keyword search
You can use Keyword searches within the title, author, subject fields, or you can search Keyword anywhere in the record. You do not need to know the exact order of the words. However, it will retrieve many more records and some of which may contain only a small amount of material on your topic.

Try experimenting with both subject and keyword searching.
Limiting your search to archival material:
Use the "Advanced Search" screen. After entering your search terms, select "Archives & Manuscripts" under Format in the "Limits" section.
Author/Title search:
In the "Advanced" search, you can combine searches under both Author and Title to narrow your search (example: Sanger, Margaret and Papers). In the Title keyword box, enter one of the following terms:
  •     Papers for personal papers of individuals or families
  •     Records for records of institutions and organizations
  •     Collection for materials brought together under a common subject

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If you don't find what you're looking for, that doesn't necessarily mean we don't have it!  For more information, contact the SSC reference staff.

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 © 2005 Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 Page last updated on Thursday, 15 September 2016