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About Searching

The search functions on ViewFinder will only find photographs or images included on this web site. The English Heritage Archive may hold other relevant material and information which is not included here. For further information contact archive@english-heritage.org.uk.

Basic Search

To search for a photograph, enter a word or phrase in one or more of the boxes. Then click on 'Search'. It is not necessary to enter something in every box. 'No specific ...' means that you have selected no search criteria for that box: that is okay. Remember, a search will only bring back images which satisfy ALL the criteria you have chosen, so it is usually better to enter just one or two boxes for each search.

The easiest way to search for photographs is to enter a word or name in the free text search box. Then click on 'Search'. Note: this does not search for dates.

The Free text search box searches 'Title', 'Caption', 'Monument type' and 'Photographer's surname' information. It searches for a character string and is not case sensitive. Wild cards and operators should not be used.

  • Tip: search for singular words before trying plurals - 'house' will bring back 'houses', but 'houses' will not bring back 'house' because the full string of characters is not present.
  • Tip: search for simple nouns rather than more complex ones - 'coal' rather than 'coal mine'. If a search finds nothing, try searching for synonyms - for 'coal mine' try 'colliery'.
Exact/All/Any instructs the system how you want it to search for your Free text query.
  • Any Order = Records containing all of the words in any order. (This is the default setting).
  • Exact = Records containing the exact phrase
  • Any Words = Records containing at least one of the words.

So for 'Chiswick House':
'Exact' would bring back all records containing the phrase 'Chiswick House'.
'Any Order' would bring back all records containing the words 'Chiswick' and 'House' in any order.
'Any Words' would bring back all records containing either the word 'Chiswick' or the word 'House'.

A County and a smaller Area within that county (actually the administrative district) may be selected from the drop-down lists in the normal way. If you prefer, the Map tool may be used to select a county and then for certain counties an area: this tool automatically completes the county and area boxes. Note that the 1974-1995 counties are still used on this site: there is a long-term programme to update this.

Broad themes have been identified for each photograph. The Thematic search allows these to be searched. Use the drop down list to find the term you want.

Viewing results. To see the full text against each individual record you may either scroll down, or alternatively check the second Page Layout option against the thumbnail results which shows the text against each thumbnail.

Advanced Search

The Advanced search allows you to search more specifically. It includes the date of the photography, colour/black & white images, the period of the subject matter, and a more detailed breakdown of subject types. Photographer's name and Collection are both available. Click on 'Advanced search' in the Menu Bar.

Enter values in any combination of the What, Where, When, Who boxes. The more closely you define the search, the greater the chance of not finding anything.

The What, When (period) and Where boxes may only be entered using the drop down lists. Multiple entries are permitted in the What and When (period) boxes. To select more than one term from a drop down list hold down the control (Ctrl) key and click. Mac users hold down the apple key and click. Tip: to maximise the returns, only select terms from one box within the What section in any search.

What (subject of picture) searches for all photographs which have been indexed in a particular monument class in the EH 'Thesaurus of Monument Types' (1995).

What (type of building or site) searches for photographs which have been indexed using a particular term in the EH 'Thesaurus of Monument Types' (1995). Only terms used in the data are available on the drop down list.

What (part of building or site) searches for photographs which have been indexed using a particular term in the EH NMR 'Components Thesaurus' (2002). Only terms used in the data are available on the drop down list.

Where (place name) is a free text box which searches 'Title' and civil parish information. It searches for a character string and is not case sensitive. Wild cards and operators are not used. Note that the 1974-2000 counties and districts are still used on this site: there is a long-term programme to update this.

Date of photography: enter the year in full, e.g. 1975. For all photography after a certain date, complete just the 'from' date; for photography before a certain date, complete just the 'to' date.

Photographer surname and Collection: select terms from the drop-down lists in the normal way.

Number schemes is only relevant if you already know a specific negative number. Because these numbers are unique, they cannot be combined with other search criteria.

The English Heritage Archive may hold other relevant material and information which is not included here. For further information contact archive@english-heritage.org.uk

If you have any difficulty in accessing the photographs, please email archive@english-heritage.org.uk.