How to Search Canfod

Using the Search box

Quick searches of Canfod can be undertaken by entering a term in to the Search box found on the front page.

This will search across the title, document reference, description and background fields.

Where more than one word is entered the default setting is an AND search, which will find records containing all of the words e.g. a search for 'parish register' will return records which include the words 'parish' and 'register' but in any order.

Using Advanced Search

Advanced search allows you to perform more precise searches and to choose which fields to search in. In advanced search, you can search in the following fields:

  • Date (if you search a specific year results will be shown where ranges include that given year as well as entries where the date matches exactly)
  • Document reference (if you know the reference of a specific item you can enter it here and the description of that item will be shown; if you know the reference of a collection you can enter this here and all items in that collection will be shown. If you combine a search in this field with a search of another field, only items with the document reference specified will be shown on the hitlist.)
  • Title
  • Description
  • Background

In the advanced search it is possible to search more than one field at a time

There is also an 'any text' field enabling you to search across all the fields in the database

Advanced searching of text fields

The searchable fields that contain text have the option for you to refine your search criteria further. By clicking 'refine search criteria', further options are brought up.

You can also search for part of a word by using a wildcard (*); so 'Ship*' will bring up 'Ship', 'Shipping', 'Ships', and any other word beginning 'Ship-'.

N.B. Please note that our descriptions are produced in one language only. Where items in a collection are English in language they will be described in English; a collection of Welsh language items will be described in Welsh.

General advice

Remember that you are searching descriptions, and not the actual text of the documents. It is therefore useful to think about the sort of records that are relevant to your research and how they might be described. If you cannot find what you are looking for it is a good idea to try searching for related terms, for example if you're searching for material on the Second World War try also searching for 'World War II', 'Blitz', 'air raid', 'wartime', 'military' etc.

Sometimes archaic or Welsh spellings of place names have been used on the documents described in the catalogue, and these spellings will be used in the description. If you are searching for records relating to 'Coity', for example, you may also find material with 'Coety' as the spelling.

Search results

The results of your search will be displayed in a table showing the document reference of the described material, the title of the material and the date. It is possible to sort the results by clicking on the column header (this can be particularly useful with the date field if you are only interested in material from a certain period. N.B. dates not given in the set format will appear at the top of the list followed by the remainder in chronological order). You can also choose how many results are displayed on a page and navigate to subsequent pages.

Click on a record in the results hitlist to see a more detailed description.

Occasionally you may find a thumbnail of an image as part of the detailed description.

A hierarchical chart above the description will show how the record relates to the rest of the collection. Clicking on the document reference will enable you to view the hierarchy of the whole collection. Clicking on any items in the structure will take you to their descriptions. You can also expand sections where there is a + button next to the description.

To view the description of the next/previous items on the hitlist, use the next/previous buttons. To navigate back to the results list, click on the link to 'search results' at the top of the page.

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