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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 descriptive guides, 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 descriptive guides

Browsing the descriptive guides for each collection can help you to determine if the collection includes images and content of the images. If you aren’t sure where to start looking for prints and photographs, you can begin with these collections (see Figure 1, below):

• People Collection: This collection consists of photographs of individuals from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The photographs are organized alphabetically by the last name of the person.

• Places Collection: This collection includes photographs of homes, street scenes, historic sites, monuments, and other images of specific places. Many are images of places in Texas, but some United States and international locations are also included.

Figure 1.

Descriptive guides can also help you identify search terms to use when keyword searching. For example, the descriptive guides for both the People and Places collections may list the names of individuals and places who appear in these images. An example, seen in Figure 2 below, shows the descriptive guide for the Places Collection which notes that we hold images of the Texas State Capitol and lists a subject heading for “Texas State Capitol (Austin, Tex.).

Figure 2.

For additional help with browsing descriptive guides, check out our tips page on browsing descriptive guides.

Keyword searching

Prints and photographs can be searched by typing in keywords or phrases into the search bar (see Figure 3, below).

Figure 3.

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 4 and 5, below).

Figure 4. An example of refining search results by type to show photographs.

Figure 5. 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 6, below.)

Figure 6.

Click the Prints and Photographs Collections icon (see Figure 7, below).

Figure 7.

From the landing page displayed in Figure 8 (below), you may conduct a search. This will search within the Prints and Photographs collection only.

Figure 8.

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: March 1, 2019