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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 TDA: browsing online finding aids, keyword searching, and the "Explore Archive" button. You can use one strategy or a combination.

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 gives an overview of the collections. Scroll down the page to learn more about each collection, or choose a collection from the list of 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 there is an online finding aid for the collection, you will see "Click here to access the online finding aid" (see Figure 3, below).

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

Follow the link for more information about the types of images available for that collection.

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 online finding aid 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

Back on the TDA, you can search the archive using simple keywords or phrases. Enter a keyword into the search box at the top of the page (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. You can make one or both of the following selections in the Refine Your Selections box:

  • Under Type, select “Photograph”Under Content Type (Display) select “Image”

 

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 content type (display) 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 keyword searching, it can help 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 offer more tips on these topics.


Explore the Prints and Photographs Collections

You can also browse and search the Prints and Photographs Collections using the “Explore Archive” feature. From the TDA homepage, click the EXPLORE ARCHIVE button on 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.

You can conduct a search from the landing page (see Figure 10, below). 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: April 16, 2020