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Detailed Help
Learn how to:
  • Discover relevant collections and identify needed items
  • Locate contributing institutions’ contact information with ease
  • Navigate the most detailed and complex guides quickly
  • Direct your own experience with multiple search and display options
Home Page
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1. Use the Search OAC box to search through all the collections and items in the site.

2. The navigation bar is located at the top of every page.

  • Home brings you back to the Home page.
  • Browse Institutions brings up an A-Z listing of all the OAC contributing institutions.
  • Browse Collections brings up an A-Z listing of all the collections.
  • About OAC tells you more about the website, what is available on the OAC, who we are.
  • Help provides help on how to use the site.
  • Contact Us is a form you can use to report technical problems or ask questions regarding the web site that are not answered in the FAQ.

3. By Title from A to Z lets you browse collection listings by title within a single letter or number.

4. By Institution lets you select a particular institution to see all the collections housed at that institution and connect to their contact information.

5. Browse Map takes you to the Google Map page to locate an institution on the map, and to find directions and contact information.

6. Need to Find a Digital Image? If you are looking for digitized images or text, consider using our Calisphere site instead.

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Search OAC
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The Search OAC box is available at the top right-hand corner of every page on the website. Enter one or more search term to search through all the collections and items in the site, regardless of which page you are on.

Search Options
Enter the keywords you would like to search on. A search for two or more words will result in records containing all of the words (e.g., cat dog will get you results where both cat and dog appear). Using the Boolean search operator AND will yield the same results (e.g., cat and dog will get you results where both cat and dog appear).

  • Exact Phrase: You must use quotes to search for an exact phrase (e.g., "gold rush" will find Gold Rush, but not gold jewelry).
  • Case Sensitive: Searching is NOT case sensitive. Searching for History or history will yield the same results.

ADVANCED Search Options
You can use Boolean search operators OR and NOT (- minus sign)

  • Or: Broaden search and retrieve records containing any of the words it separates (e.g., enter Cat or Dog to get more results that contain the term cat or the term dog
  • Not (- minus sign): Narrow search and retrieve records that do not contain the term (e.g., gold -jewelry will retrieve results where the term gold appears, but not jewelry).
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Browse Institution
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1. Select Browse Institution from the top navigation bar to view and scroll through an A-Z list of all the OAC contributing institutions.

2. Select a letter from A to Z to jump to that page on the contributing institutions list.

3. Browse Map takes you to the Google Map page to locate an institution on the map, and to find directions and contact information.

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Browse Collections
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1. Select Browse Collections from the top navigation bar to view an A-Z list of all the collections available. In most cases, the A-Z is sorted by the last name (e.g., Goodman, John B. Collection).

2. Use the Auto-complete option to find a particular collection

  • Typing any words that might be in the collection title (e.g., the person's first or last name) to generate a list of possible matches.
  • Continue entering letters to narrow your choices until you find a match.
  • Select the matching term and click "go" to be taken to the search results. The collection that is the exact match is the first result; related collections are listed below.

3. Select any letters from A to Z to jump to the collections for that letter.

4. Select Show collection descriptions or Hide collection descriptions to see or hide brief descriptions of the collections on that page.

5. Show records to toggle between viewing all collection records, only MARC records or only EAD-encoded records.

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Collection Guide

Collection guides (also called "finding aids") describe the items in a collection and how they were gathered or created. They also identify the collection's location, and may provide additional information, including detailed descriptions, chronologies, and biographies.

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1. This area provides the collection title, collection number, a link to contact information for the collection, and information about whether items in this collection that are available online.

  1. new oac online items available icon image Tells you that some items in this collection have been digitized and can be viewed online. Click this link to see them all, or look for the eye icon in the Table of Contents to see where they are located in the guide
  2. new oac online items available icon image Tells you that none of the items described in this collection have been digitized. You will need to contact the institution to learn how you can view an item (click on the Contact link).
  3. new contact institution image Links to the website of the institution that contributed the collection guide and owns the material. Contact the holding institution for any question related to the collection or its contents, including requests for duplication, permissions, or more information.
  4. Some collection guides feature a Request Items button. If you see this button, you can use it to register with the institution that owns the collection and request materials from it. For example, you can obtain a scanned copy of an item that you are interested in viewing, submit a request in advance of a visit to the library or archive, or ask for additional information about the items in the collection. Upon registering with the institution, you can place requests and track your orders.

2. View entire Collection Guide lets you select how you would like to view the collection guide: in either PDF or HTML.

3. Search this Collection lets you search for any item in this collection guide, or for online items only, where available. Click radio buttons to change search. (If there are no online items for a collection guide, this option is grayed out.)

4. The collection guide Table of Contents always remains on the right-hand side of the screen. You can easily navigate through the collection guide by clicking the name of the section you want in the Table of Contents. The number of search hits (i.e., the number of times the term you searched on appears in the collection guide) will appear in yellow highlight. When you click the yellow hits link, you will be taken directly to the results for your search term in that section.

5. The left-hand side of the screen displays the contents of the entire collection guide. Any search hits will appear in yellow highlight, and you can navigate between them by clicking the arrows on either side of the terms.

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Search Results

Search results are categorized in two tabs: Collections and Items

Collections Results
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1. The Collections tab displays a list of collections that match the search terms entered (gold rush mining). In this case, 63 collections matched the search terms.

2. Each result lists the title of the collection. Click the title to view the collection guide. The search results also lists the contributing institution (the institution that houses that collection) and a short description of the collection. Click "read more" to see more of the description.

new oac online items icon image indicates that the collection includes digitized items.

3. Limit to: There are three ways to narrow search results:

  • By Institutions: choose this to view collections only from that institution.
  • By Date: choose a date to view collections with materials from that date.
  • By collections with Online Items Available: choose this to view only collections that have digitized items available online.

The option you choose will display in the Refine search results box, and the search results will change. To remove that option and return to original results, clicking the "X" next to that choice.

Items Results
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1. The Items tab displays a list of items that match the search terms by topic or title. In this case, 13 items matched the search term tuna.

2. There are three types of Items:

  • Online images available Online images: a thumbnail of the image appears to the left of the result.
  • Online texts available Online texts: digitized texts are indicated by this document icon
  • Not available online Not available online: This item has not been digitized. You must contact the contributing institution to view this item.

3. Limit to: There are three ways to narrow search results:

  • By Institutions: choose this to view collections only from that institution
  • By Date: choose a date to view collections with materials from that date
  • By collections with Online Items Available: choose this to view collections that only have digitized items available online

The option you choose will display in the Refine search results box, and the search results will change. To remove that option and return to your original results, click the "X" next to that choice.

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Map

Locate a contributing institution by using the Google Maps feature. You can use the click and zoom capability, as you would on any Google Maps. There are four ways to find an institution using this feature.

new oac institutions map page

1. Click a blue marker to choose an institution. A bubble provides the institution’s name and address. You can enter your address to get driving directions. You can also click “Browse the collection” to get a list of all collections housed at that institution

2. Choose an institution from the alphabetical list of Contributing Institutions. When you select the name of the institution, a bubble provides the name and address. You can enter your address to get driving directions. You can also click "Browse the collection" to get a list of all the collections housed at that institution

3. Use the pull-down menu to choose a city (view all institutions in that city) or choose a campus (view all the institutions at a particular campus).

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Contributing Institution Information

Questions related to a collection or its contents--including requests for duplication, permissions, or more information--must be directed to the institution that contributed the materials or the guide. The OAC does not own, store, or house any of the materials described in the collection guides, nor any of the digital materials appearing on this site.

The name of the contributing institution, as well as a link to its website, is provided on every collection guide and digital item (image or text). The following screenshots provide examples of where to find this information for the various types of materials on the OAC:


Collection Guides

The red arrows indicate the locations of contributing institution information on collection guides.

contributing institution contact information on collection guides

Items

For some images and texts, to find the contributing institution website, you must click the "more information about this image" link. Some images and texts are formatted differently. If you cannot locate the contributor information for a particular object, try returning to the collection guide (see above for more information).

contributing institution contact information on items
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