New York Public Library Digital Library Collections

Digital Library Collections -- Finding Aids Help

Using the Button Console   Navigating the Site    Searching the Collections


Using the Button Console

You will find a series of icons at either the top or bottom of the screen. Use the button bar to navigate rather than your browser's back button.
NYPL Finding Aids The "NYPL Finding Aids" button will take you to a page with descriptions of those divisions of the New York Public Library with archival collections for which finding aids are available on the site.
Division listing Displayed when viewing a finding aid, The "Division Finding Aids" button will take you to a list of the just those archival collections which finding aids are available for a particular division. Currently the following divisions have finding aids available at this site:
  • Library of Performing Arts. Dance Collection
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Manuscripts & Archives Division
  • Library of Performing Arts. Music Division
  • Library of Performing Arts. Billy Rose Theatre Collection
  • Library of Performing Arts. Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division.
Searching Type a word or multiple words in the space and click the "Search" button.  (See below for instructions and tips.
Clear Search The Clear Search button clears the current search from the search field and removes all hits in the Table of Contents and Content windows. 
Back The left arrow jumps back to the previous page or section. 
Next page The right arrow jumps forward to the next page or section. 
Table of Contents

Navigating the Site

On entering the Digital Library Finding Aids Site, you can select finding aids for any division, or all divisions combined.

Once you select any one of these choices, you will retrieve a list of items within your given choice. From this page, you may search across this selection for a keyword or phrase (see Searching the Texts below) or you may select the Specific Search Query to create a more targeted search. You may also select, from this page, an individual finding aid to browse or search.

When you select an individual finding aid, your browser will display 3 frames.

You may manipulate each frame independent of the content in the other frames on the screen. [?] When you are navigating through a search in frames mode and you wish to return to the Contents List which contains search results, use your browser's Go pull-down menu and select the last page visited. The Back button will only update the individual frames one at a time.

The arrows at the top and bottom of the text in the Contents Frame (the right frame) move the display to Previous and Next text pages in the Table of Contents.

Searching the Collections

The Button Console provides the following search controls:
Search Box  The white box used to enter search terms for any type of search. 
Search Finding Aid Button  Sends the query you have entered in the Search Field. 
Clear Search Button  Clears the current search from the Search Field and removes all results indicated in the Table of Contents and Content windows. 
Right Arrow  Appears when your search has retrieved more than one hit. It allows you to jump to the next search result. 
Left Arrow  Appears once you have begun navigating through the hits of search result which retrieved more than one hit. It allows you to jump back to the previous search result. 

The number of results within each item will appear in the Table of Contents window. The word or phrase searched appears in red. All results are shown in full context, that is, results are shown within the finding aid in the Contents screen. By selecting an item in the Table of Contents window, you pull up the complete text of the section of the finding aid containing the search result. The results are marked in red in the Contents Window.


To search for a phrase, simply type the desired phrase in the search field. No quotation marks are necessary.

Combining Terms

The keywords "and", "or" and "not" allow you to control the scope of your searches. "And" looks for occurrences of words or phrases within 20 words of one another. "Or" is used to construct lists of multiple keywords or phrases. "And Not" is useful for screening out unwanted search results.

Parenthesis may be used to control the search expression. The expression in parenthesis is evaluated first. Wildcard Characters

A question mark (?) will match any single character, while an asterisk (*) will match 0 or more characters. An asterisk used by itself stands for an entire word.

Proximity Searching

Use the keywords "AFTER", "BEFORE", "OF", "WITHIN", "WORD", or "WORDS" to limit your search by word proximity. For example:

Case Sensitivity

Searches are not Case Sensitive.


Some common words, such as "the" and "a", are considered stopwords and are normally not searchable. You may include these words in your search, however they will be replaced with a "*", which will match any single word.

More Information

For more information about the DynaWeb search software, please consult the Dynaweb Guide.

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