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Search Tips

Our archive is arranged so that all information is categorised in groups, rather than simply by subject.

So, for instance, all the material relating to Bedford College is gather under the prefix ‘BC’. For sections within Bedford College further letters and numbers are used, such as GB for Governing Body minutes, AS for associations and societies, or PH for photographs. Other catalogues just have numerical references.

The terms used to describe levels below the main collection description (‘fonds’) are section, series, sub-series, file and item.

Records can usually only be brought to the reading room at item or file level, as the higher levels may constitute many boxes or volumes.

Please check the ‘Extent’ and ‘Level’ fields to see how big a collection is, and whether it’s from the lowest level of description, if you’re planning on viewing it in the reading room.

Enclosing a search term in inverted commas will search for the words next to each other in the specific order, e.g ‘Thomas Holloway’.

Without the inverted commas, the two words will be searched for wherever they appear in an item description, separately or together.

An asterisk can be used where you are not sure of a particular spelling or want to search for variations, e.g drama* will find drama, dramatic, dramatis etc.

The search is not case sensitive.

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