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Searching for prints and photographs in the Texas Digital Archive (TDA)

There are three general ways to search for prints and photographs on the Texas Digital Archive: browsing online finding aids, keyword searching, and the "Explore Archive" button. When searching for prints and photographs, it may be helpful to use a combination of these methods to find images of interest.

Browsing online finding aids

Browsing the online finding aids for each collection (when available) can help you to determine what types of images are in a collection. To begin, click the Prints and Photographs Collections icon on the TDA homepage (see Figure 1, below).

Screenshot of TDA homepage with red arrow pointing to the Prints and Photographs Collections icon.
Figure 1.

The Prints and Photographs Collections landing page provides an overview of the collections. Scroll down the page to learn more about each collection, or choose a collection from the list of internal links at the top of the page (see Figure 2, below).

Screenshot of TDA landing page for the Prints and Photographs Collections with "Hunnicutt Collection" circled in red.
Figure 2.

If an online finding aid has been created for the collection, you will see "Click here to access the online finding aid" (see Figure 3, below). Follow the link for more information about the types of images available for that collection.

Screenshot of J.R. Hunnicutt Collection description with red arrow pointing to link to online finding aid.
Figure 3.

Finding aids can also help you identify search terms to use when keyword searching. For example, the online finding aid for the J. R. Hunnicutt Collection lists names of individuals and places that appear in the images within this collection. An example, seen in Figure 4 below, shows a small excerpt from the descriptive guide for the J. R. Hunnicutt Collection which describes several photographs using helpful keywords.

Screenshot from J. R. Hunnicutt Collection online finding aid.
Figure 4.

Keyword searching

Prints and photographs can be searched by typing in keywords or phrases into the search bar (see Figure 5, below).

Image of search box with the word "ranger".
Figure 5.

Based on the number of results, you may want to consider refining your results to “Photograph” under Type and/or “Image” under Format Group (see Figures 6 and 7, below).

Screenshot from search results showing selections for Type of materials.
Figure 6. An example of refining search results by type to show photographs.

Screenshot from search results showing selections for Format group.
Figure 7. An example of refining search results by format group to show images.

Please note that refining searches by dates might eliminate relevant results. Many photographs are undated or have imprecise dates (for example, “186-” for a photograph taken in the 1860s).

When doing a keyword search, it helps to use alternate spellings and variations of the keyword or phrase. For example, if you were searching for prints and photographs of the Texas State Capitol, you might search for keyword phrases such as, “Texas State Capitol,” “state capitol,” and “capitol building.”

Our guides on conducting keyword searches and refining search results provide additional tips on these topics.


Explore the Prints and Photographs Collections

The Prints and Photographs Collections can also be browsed and searched using the “Explore Archive” feature. From the TDA homepage, click the EXPLORE ARCHIVE button on the left-hand side of the search toolbar (see Figure 8, below.)

Screenshot of TDA homepage with Explore Archive button circled in red.
Figure 8.

Click the Prints and Photographs Collections icon (see Figure 9, below).

Screenshot of Explore Archive landing page with red arrow pointing to the Prints and Photographs icon.
Figure 9.

From the landing page displayed in Figure 10 (below), you may conduct a search. This will search within the Prints and Photographs collection only.

Screenshot of the Prints and Photographs explore page with a red arrow pointing to the search box and a red circle around the word "collection".
Figure 10.

To continue exploring the archive, click on a thumbnail to enter that Collection and view its contents, or use the Refine Your Selection options on the left-hand side of the page.

Our Explore Archive guide provides additional help with this tool.

Page last modified: July 30, 2019