Refining search results in the Texas Digital Archive (TDA)
Refine Your Selection
Before you begin using this tool, be aware: the options to Refine Your Selection are only present where descriptive information has been created by TSLAC, and some items or levels of browsing will have little to no options for Refining Your Selection.
When viewing the results of a search or using the Explore Archive feature, a sidebar is displayed on the left side of the screen next to your results. These are options you can use to Refine Your Selection (see Figure 1, below).
The options shown in this sidebar use information that describes the items you are viewing. To Refine Your Selection, click the boxes that match the criteria you are looking for. For example, clicking “1860s” under the Date category will display only results that were created during the 1860s.
You may select multiple boxes. As you Refine Your Selection, options which are no longer relevant may still appear on the left side of the screen. Refresh your webpage to update the list to show only those options that still apply. See Figures 2 and 3 below for an example.
Figure 2. Before refreshing the webpage.
In Figure 2, although “1860s” is selected and only 2 results appear, the page is still showing 500 search results and the option to further narrow the selection to Spreadsheets and Emails (formats that did not exist in the 1860s).
Figure 3. After refreshing the webpage.
In Figure 3, after refreshing the webpage in the browser, the page now shows 2 results and the options to Refine the Selection are appropriate to the search results remaining. If Refining Your Selection has narrowed your search too much, click a box you have already selected to deselect it and re-broaden your search.
Before you begin using this tool, be aware: although the filters are a free-text search tool, the filters only search descriptive information added by TSLAC to a particular field. For example, choosing the Format field and searching for “photograph” may not retrieve results, but choosing the Description field and searching for “photograph” may be more successful. In addition, the +Filter option does not use partial word matches, so search results will show only exact matches.
When viewing the results of a search or using the Explore Archive feature, a +Filter button is displayed to the right of the search bar (see Figure 4, below).
To add a filter to your search, click the +Filter button and the search bar will expand. You may choose to type in your search terms using the following fields:
- Item Title
- Alternative Title
- Series Title
- Collection Name
- Geographic Term
- Subject Term
- Date range
Use the drop-down menu on the left side of the screen to choose which filter you’d like to search by then type in your search term(s). Remember that the +Filter option does not use partial word matches, so search results will show only exact matches. You may want to try variations on your search terms. To apply the filter to your search, click the Add button (see Figure 5, below).
Figure 5. Before clicking "Add".
You may add multiple filters. As the filters are applied, options which are no longer relevant may still appear on the left side of the screen. Refresh your webpage to update the list to show only those options that still apply. See Figures 6 and 7 below for an example.
Figure 6. Before refreshing the webpage.
In Figure 6, although the results are filtered to show only those with the term “photograph” used in the item’s description field, the page is still showing the same number of search results as the initial search for Sam Houston (Figures 4 and 5 above).
Figure 7. After refreshing the webpage.
In Figure 7, after refreshing the webpage in the browser, the page now shows 1520 results the options to Refine the Selection have updated. To add another filter, click the +Filter button at the top of the page to display the drop-down menu and search box again. Note that once you have already applied a filter, you will be unable to select it from the drop-down menu (see Figure 8, below).
In this example, the Description filter has already been added and is no longer an option to choose from in the drop-down menu. To edit or remove an existing filter, use the icons on the left side of the page in the Filters box (see Figure 9, below).
A description of these icons and their functions can be found in the legend of icons used in the TDA.