Springfield Armory Museum - Search Tips

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Searching Successfully (helpful hints and tips)

The best search strategy is to start with a simple one word search, and refine your search string to broaden or narrow the results, until you find the records you need.† If you want to find two or more words together, enclose them in double-quotes, such as "Koishikawa Army Arsenal." Searches are not case-sensitive. In the examples here, upper- and lower-case letters are used only to emphasize the logic of the search string.

Youíll use "conditions" such as AND, OR, and NOT.† Advanced users may even use "Boolean Logic" to group words within parentheses, like a mathematical equation.

For example, if you want information from the Museum Collection on John Garandís M1 rifle, but not about Garandís rival John Pedersen, you could start this way:

Similarly, if you search for Pedersen NOT Garand, youíll find only 25 records, which discuss Pedersen with no reference to Garand.


Although an Archives search uses the same logical expressions in its queries, they must be applied within a hierarchical system, on which archival cataloging is based. Generally, archival hierarchy approaches cataloging from the general to the specific using Collections to Sub-Collections, to Series within those Sub-Collections, to File Units within those Series and finally to the item level, where the information about a specific photograph or document is entered.

Applying Boolean Logic Expressions to the archival database allows a search for photographs, maps or documents of Springfield Armory, when it was a working armory from 1794 to 1968. For example, if one wanted photographs of the Commandantís House for an exhibition, one could search using the quotes for "Quarters 1"; "Building 1"; or "Bldg. 1." "C.O." or "Commandant" AND "Quarters" either individually or linked together with "OR." Notice the substitution of "Quarters" for "House."† One also must use the Army nomenclature.† Working through this example: the abbreviation C.O. returns 259 results, whereas C.O. Quarters returns 116, in which the search engine interpreted the query as C.O. AND Quarters. Use quotes to refine the Query as "C.O. Quarters" returns 12 results.† Using "Building 1" as the title of the Commanding Officers Quarters yields 20 results and "Bldg. 1" yields an additional 4.† A combination approach in the query line for this example would be "C.O. Quarters" OR "Building 1" OR "Bldg. 1" for a total of 34 results.

Consider another example: the Waite Monument.† Using the word, Waite yields no results, as does Monument.† However, using the original spelling as "Wait" returns 13 photographs from the database. With the query: Stone Marker one can also cross-reference the monument as either stone or marker.

If one were to search for examples of milling, both an operation and a department/division at the historic Springfield Armory, begin with querying the database for milling to return 648 results. Looking at the list gives clues to how to further refine the search with the additional words: operations, shops, department and divisions or their abbreviations, e.g. Dept. or Div.† Refining this search as "Milling Operations" OR "Mill Shops" OR "Milling Div." OR "Milling Dept." gives 17 results.

In the last archives example, typing the word, fence, in the query box returns 267 results for the historic fence surrounding the site. Sharpening the query to Fence AND Gates decreases the number to 31 results.† Defining the query further for a specific gate, such as the gate at Byers Street, by specifying Fence AND Gates AND BYERS in the query box, gives 3 listings for the specific Byers Street Gate, Armory Gate No. 3.