Search strategies

Full text search and search terms
If you are looking for evidence of a person, or a mediaeval manuscript or a painting, or you are researching a subject area, use full text search. This simple search strategy covers all fields. Enter terms that are as exact and detailed as possible, so as to optimise your search results. For a more detailed search, you can use the field search, which offers various additional options, or the archive plan search or descriptor search.

Search by reference
If you know the reference for the document you are looking for, enter this in the full text search or, better still, in the field search; then the relevant catalogue item will be displayed immediately. The same applies here: please enter the reference you are looking for accurately.

Search by document type
By selecting the document type, you can restrict the access to written documents, objects, plans, images and photographs or other types of material. In this way you can limit the number of search results. This is especially recommended when searching for images or plans.

Search for images available online
After carrying out a search, you can restrict the results to images that are available online by entering “Switch to image list” or switching to “Image overview”. Those images will then be deleted from your search results that are not available online.

Search by catalogue level
Searching by catalogue level is particularly useful when searching a complete holding or fond. The introductions contain contextual information telling you about the role of the person who created the files, the scope and nature of the accessible materials and their content. There are also references to related documents or associated literature, along with information about the conditions for accessing and using them.

Descriptor or keyword search
The descriptor search gives you access using concepts or keywords. These are subdivided into people, topics and places. References show the connections between the keywords. The descriptor search can be used to show, for example, relationships. Individuals can be identified, with the dates of their birth and death, where these are known. For the Graphics Collection, the Photographic Archives and the Paintings, you can also search by place or object. The detailed information in the Historical Topographic Lexicon of the City of Berne is a very useful addition when searching for buildings or other locations in the city of Berne.

Work folders
Use work folders to document your search results. Another option is to produce your search results as a PDF.

Orders basket
Your orders basket allows you to reserve documents directly from the Online Archive Catalogue. When ordering from outside the library, the documents will normally be available to you on the next working day; orders placed in the Reading Room are processed at least twice a day. Please note that for the use of manuscripts from the Bongarsiana/Codices section and the Graphics Collection, Photographic Archives and Paintings, you need to book in advance. Certain holdings underlie to restrictions of data protection, are subject to restricted use or may only be viewed on request. (Link to the Rules and Regulations: PDF)