- THE VIETNAM CENTER AND ARCHIVE
- Texas Tech University
How to Use the Virtual Vietnam Archive
The Quick Search Page includes one search field. Enter your keyword(s) and hit Enter on your keyboard on click the Search button, and you will be taken directly to the results page. The most important thing to note about using this search page is that searches will result in a maximum of 500 hits. This limitation is in place to reduce the strain on our system resources. If you feel that what you are looking for is not coming up in those 500 results, or if you need more search options, use the links on the page to go to the Advanced Search page.
The Advanced Search Page
The Virtual Archive Advanced Search Page is the primary method for accessing the materials in our collection. The page includes a variety of search options to better help users find the information they are looking for. These search fields will be covered more in-depth on this page of the tutorial. For now, let's look at the page itself.
The middle section of the page contains the buttons and fields needed to search the VVA. The left column contains functions to control the Virtual Archive, to conduct searches and display search results. These buttons will change based on your actions. The buttons that remain static include the "Help" button, and the "End Search Session" button, which ends your VVA session. The other part of the middle section includes the search fields, which will be covered shortly. Please note that it is not necessary to enter information in every search field. Use as few or as many as you need.
The Search Fields are were users enter terms and phrases they wish to search for in the Virtual Archive. Please remember that you can use as few or as many of these search fields as you would like. It is not necessary to enter data in every field.
Keyword / Item Number: The most basic search in the VVA is the keyword search. Entering a term in this field searches all of the fields in our database. Entering more than one word in this field (ex: 101st Airborne) will search for records that have both 101st and Airborne in them, but not necessarily together. Use " " around phrases to search for that exact phrase. If you have a VVA item number from a previous search (ex: 2300503001 or VA000106), you may also enter them into this field.
For more control over keyword searching, we have included three keyword search fields. The first two are followed by "Boolean" search terms, which are used to connect the terms in the fields. So if you enter 101st in the first keyword field, select "not" in the following list, and enter airborne in the second keyword field, you would be searching for records that contain the term 101st but not the term airborne.
Collection Title: Every donation to the Vietnam Archive is added to a collection, usually the name of the donor (ex: Ron Frankum Collection). This is how we link materials together. Each collection is also assigned a unique identification number (ex: Ron Frankum Collection = 1039). In this search field you can search either by this collection number, if known, or any part of the collection name. This field is followed by a Box and a Folder search fields. We include these fields in particular for researchers who have used our collections on-site, and are trying to find a particular item, knowing what box and folder the item was in, or who found something in a Finding Aid. These fields should be used in conjunction with the collection title field, and should be entered in 2 or 3 digits (ex: 02).
Date/Date Span: Enter dates in these search fields in numeric format to limit your results to a particular time period. To search for a single day, enter that day in the first field (ex: 07/25/1968), and leave the second field blank. To search for a span of dates (7/25/1968-8/14/1968), enter the earliest date in the first box, and the latest date in the second. To limit to a year, you can enter just that year in the first box alone.
Media Types: The Vietnam Archive is digitizing all materials in its holdings, which covers many media types. To limit your searches to particular media types, use these checkboxes, located in the column on the right. The different checkbox options for media type can be seen in the graphic above. The images checkbox includes photographs, negatives, and slides. Audio includes Oral Histories, but Oral History does not include other audio files.
Language: The documents in the VVA come in a variety of languages. To limit your search to one particular language, check the checkbox next to it. Please note that if you select, for example, Vietnamese, your search will be conducted across records in which the primary language is Vietnamese, but may also include English or French.
Limit to Items...: The Virtual Archive contains records for all of our digitized items, but due to copyright or other restrictions, some of these items cannot be made available over the internet. Selecting this checkbox limits your search to only items that are available for you to view over the internet.
Limit to Records...: New items are being added to the VVA daily, and the rate of around 30,000 pages per month. Use this dropdown menu to limit your searches to records added within specific date periods. This is particularly useful for researchers conducting long term research. There may be nothing available on a particular term today, but something may be added next week. This option lets you avoid sorting through materials you have already examined.
This link, located in the right column, will take users to the list of terms available for certain search fields. More information on the Index Pages is available in the next section of this tutorial.
To conduct a search, enter a term(s) in as few or as many search fields as you wish. You may then either hit enter on your keyboard, or click the "Start Search" link in the left column. If your search generated results, this number will appear at the top of the left column and directly above the keyword search field. If there are no results, you will see the message "Your search did not retrieve any hits. Please try again." If your search resulted in a large number of hits (500+), we suggest you enter more terms, such as dates, to narrow down your search.
The more results your search has, the longer they will take to load, and the more information you will have to sort through. After you enter another term, hit enter or click on the "Update Hits" link. Once you are happy with the number of results, click on the "Display Search Results" link, which will take you to the Browse List page.