Request a Particular Box within a Collection

Sometimes, researchers who have visited before know exactly which box within a collection they want to see. They may prefer to search for that box rather than looking through the whole finding aid to find it.

Luckily, there’s a very easy way to do this. Once you’re in the finding aid for the collection that you want to see, search for “Box X” (with X, of course, being the box number you’re looking for).

Search for a box within a collection. Be sure to surround your search with quotation marks.

Search for a box within a collection. Be sure to surround your search with quotation marks.

And the results of your search will return records contained in the box you specified.

Here, you see records that are in box 135 of the Harold Medina papers.

Here, you see records that are in box 135 of the Harold Medina papers.

And to request these items, click on the title to go to the entry in the finding aid and click the button that says “Request this Box.”

As always, don’t hesitate to call or email us if you have questions about this process.

Narrowing Search Results

There are two ways of narrowing search results on this site.

First, more search terms will result in fewer results. Notice that the original search term is already in the box — simply add more terms to get more precise results.
If you know that there’s a term that you definitely don’t want to see results for, just put a minus sign ( – ) in front of it. For instance, if you were interested in the history of women at Princeton, but you didn’t want results related to coeducation, simply enter “women Princeton -coeducation”.
Second, you can use the terms on the left of the screen to narrow down your results to entire categories of content.

Advanced tips:
Archival collections are organized by who collected the materials, not what the materials are about. You may be pleasantly surprised by searching outside of the collections that you think an item should be in.
Results in the “name,” “genre,” and “subject” facets can be thought of as tags — if an item has been tagged with any of the terms in the list, it will appear in the revised results. But some relevant results may not have been tagged — narrowing this way may result in missing good material!

Effective Searching

When searching, it’s good to keep a few things in mind.

  1. Try lots of different terms. “Sylvia Beach letters” will produce different results than “Sylvia Beach correspondence”.
  2. The more words you use in your search, the fewer results will come back to you. “Woodrow Wilson” will produce fewer results than “Wilson”, but not all of the Wilsons that are produced may be about Woodrow.
  3. Using a minus sign (-) will exclude a term from results. If you’re interested in Ray Stannard Baker, but you keep getting results for James A. Baker III, a good search might be “Ray Baker -James”.