Searching for an Item in a Collection

Searching for an Item in a Collection

Content on the Montana History Portal website is organized in collections. For example, yearbooks from Billings Senior High School are all consolidated under a collection called “Billings Senior High School Yearbooks.” We have nearly 200 collections uploaded to the website, everything from photo collections, to livestock brands, to publications. Often, as you are searching for content on the site, you may want to restrict your search to items from a single collection.

As an example, let’s try to find images of a specific location, all from a single, large collection. Our goal will be to find photographs of Moose Creek, in the extensive Bud Moore Photographs and Sound Recordings Collection. This collection has approximately 6000 items, so this will be no easy task.

To start our search, let’s navigate to the search page, which can be found by clicking the Search icon on the left menu of the website.

This will bring you to a new search page. In the search bar, type the words Moose Creek. This will return a page with hundreds of results, many of which are completely unrelated. This initial search is looking for anything with the word “moose” OR the word “creek.” Our search engine does not accept quoted phrases for exact matching, so we will need to take an additional step to refine that number down.

Use "Exact Phrase Match" to Narrow Results

Let’s click on the “Search For” button below the search bar, and select “Exact Phrase Match.”

This will significantly refine your results down to just a few dozen, all of which should contain the exact phrase “Moose Creek” somewhere in the item’s metadata. But you will see that many of the results are irrelevant to our search, such as yearbooks and documents. They also come from a variety of different collections.

Limit Results to a Single Collection

Let’s narrow our results down to only items from the Bud Moore collection. To do that, click on the “Refine Search Terms” button under the search bar. Next, click on the “Add or Restrict Keywords” button. To the right of that, you will see an empty box with a dropdown box which says “And.” In this box, type in “Bud Moore Photographs and Sound Recordings.” Lastly, click on “Update Search.”

The search now returns just a handful of items, all from the Bud Moore collection. This includes a mix of audio recordings and images.

Limit Search to Images Only

In order to weed out the audio files and leave only images, navigate to the “Filter By” menu on the left side of the screen, select “Format,” and then select “Image.” 

We have now narrowed our search down to only images of Moose Creek from the Bud Moore Photographs and Sound Recordings Collection. You can follow these same steps to search other collections on the Montana Memory Project Website.



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