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Willamette University Archives: Search Tips

Search the Archives

Search the Archives

Browse and search Digital Collections

Types of Results


An entire collection of materials.

Series or Sub-series

A grouping of files or items within a single collection that share a topic.

File or Item

A single folder or item.

Subject, Person, or Organization

A grouping of collections that share a particular topic or creator.

Narrow your search

Search by phrase

Surround your search in quotation marks to only get results where those words appear together. This is especially helpful for proper nouns! If you search Star Trees you'll get all the results for Star and all the results for Trees. If you search "Star Trees" you'll only get results where those two words appear next to each other.

Note: In some databases, like the Collegian, phrase searching is done by selecting an option in a drop-down menu instead of using quotation marks. If a search isn't working the way you expect it to, ask an Archivist! It's probably a quirky database.

Search using AND

This will only return results where both terms appear on the page. This is especially helpful if you have a general term and a specific term, like a genre and a person.

Search using NOT

This will return results where the first term is found, but the second is not. This is especially helpful if you're looking for something relatively rare compared to what else is in the collection.

Expand your search

Search using OR

Search for two terms and get results that have either one. This is especially helpful for abbreviations!

Truncate with *

Search for any word beginning the same way. This is especially helpful for words that might have different suffixes! For example, searching tax* will get you anything with tax, taxes, taxation, taxing, taxed, etc.


If you're not sure where to start, or you're having trouble finding what you want...

Schedule a research appointment with an Archivist!

Email us at


Or stop by during walk-in hours:

Monday: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Tuesday: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Wednesday: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Thursday: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.


Susan Irwin (she/her)

Abigail Chavez (she/her)

Willamette University

Willamette University Libraries

Mark O. Hatfield Library
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Salem Oregon 97301
Pacific Northwest College of Art Library
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Portland Oregon 97209