How does the Search function work?
Put in simple terms, Cotton Town is a huge database. Using the search function you can enter keywords e.g. ‘King William Street’ to find resources the items you are interested in. This feature will search through thousands of items, for resources that match your keywords. A results page will then be displayed which will give you various options of resources to view; as well as giving you brief details of each resource, giving you information about the type of resource (photograph, map, news article etc). You can click on any item to view it in more detail.
Quick Search via the home page.
This is the easiest way to search for information on a general topic. For instance, if you wanted to see some photographs of the old Market Place you would use these keywords and the database would search for anything that matched those keywords and bring up some pages of results for you to look at. Click on any item to view in more detail.
You may wish to narrow your search for various reasons. For example if you put the search term ‘Blackburn' or ‘Darwen’ you would be presented with hundreds, sometimes thousands of records to view. If you just want to search for items relating to the Museum for example, then use this keyword to ferine your search. Click here to go to the Advanced Search option.
Advanced Search Help
If you are looking for more specific information you may wish to use the advanced search option, this allows you to refine your search so you only get the most relevant information. The advanced search page will contain a series of buttons, text boxes and drop-down boxes that you can use to refine your search. These include:
- Buttons to search for items either on pages, in the database, or both.
- Buttons to search through all the resources or for images only.
- Drop down box to select specific items to search for, e.g. if you wanted to only look for maps or newspaper articles.
- Text box to select the author or creator of an item, e.g. if you wanted to look at photographs by a particular photographer, or paintings by a particular artist. You do not need the full name, either forename or surname to search.
- Text box to select a title; e.g. if you wanted to look at photographs which were called ‘Darwen Street’ or ‘The Boulevard’ etc, or if you want to look at a particular painting and you know its title. Single words can be used if the full title is not known.
- Text box to select a date range which will allow you to narrow your search; e.g. if you were only interested in seeing material from the 1920s, type 01/01/1920 in the first box and 31/12/1929 in the second box. Note: many of the images have unknown dates, so if you do not succeed with your first set of dates, widen the range to be searched.
- Text box to search by the copyright holder of a resource; e.g. if you only wanted to look at photographs which belonged to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.
- Buttons to choose to search by a complete phrase or any word.
- Drop down buttons to view your results by Title or Type, and then in Ascending or Descending order.
The advanced search will allow you to search using keywords or you can search for a complete phrase. This means that if you put ‘Darwen Street’ as a complete phrase, the database would search for all items which contained the terms ‘Darwen’ and ‘Street’ but narrow it down to those items which only contained the two words together. This allows you to lower the amount of results you will get back and makes for more efficient searching.
By using the advanced search facility you are able to exclude items you don’t want to look at and include the things you do. For instance you could search for glass negatives showing views of Wilpshire taken by the photographer A. E. Shaw. This would eliminate all the other resources such as maps, colour photographs, newspaper articles etc that would be returned if you just used the keyword ‘Wilpshire’.