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Archives 101: How to Search

Basic information and tips on how to search for and access archives.

Northern BC Archives Database Tutorial

Search Tips

Just like the library search engine, the archives database search uses truncation, Boolean Operators, and Advanced Search Filters.

Wildcards/Truncation: Wildcards/truncation refers to the placement of an asterisk at the meaningful root of a word to retrieve results containing that word and all of its subsequent endings. Use a * at the end of the root word or use a ? in place of a letter.
Examples: environment*, wom?n
Boolean Operators:

Use "AND" or "OR" or "NOT" to narrow or broaden your search:
Use AND to make your search more specific and narrow your search.
Use OR to search for clusters of related terms enclosed in parentheses to broaden your search. VERY IMPORTANT when searching for images! Example: (train* OR locomotive* OR steam engine OR coach)
Use NOT to exclude words to narrow your search. Useful for excluding fonds or collections from your search.

Filters: (Advanced Search and Side Navigation)

Level of description: Narrow search to Fonds, Collection, Series, Subseries, File, or Item
Digital object available: Select "Yes" if you are only interested in finding digitized content
General material designation: Textual record (documents), Graphic material (e.g. photographs), Sound recording (audio), Moving images (videos), Cartographic material (e.g. maps), Architectural drawing, Technical drawing, and Object
Date: Filter to a single date or date range

Ask an Archivist

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Northern BC Archives & Special Collections

Monday to Friday: 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
Closed Weekends & Statutory Holidays

Available for Special Collections as staffing permits. Email before arrival to confirm availability.

Recommended for Special Collections. Required for archival research. Email to schedule.

LOCATION: UNBC Prince George
Geoffrey R. Weller Library
4th Floor (Room 5-423)