Searching the Catalog


(Please note that the online catalog is best viewed in the web browser Mozilla Firefox.)

Basic Search

Basic search allows you to search the SCHS collections by Keyword, Subject, Title, or Author. Select the appropriate function from the dropdown menu.

Keyword search. This is the broadest search and will return the most results. You’ll retrieve records with the search word anywhere within them—as an author, title, subject, note, etc. If you are getting too many irrelevant hits, try adding more words to your search term.

Subject search. Every record in the library catalog has subjects assigned to it that describe what the item is about. A subject search will generate a list of the number of instances that subject is contained in library records. Compared to a keyword search, a subject search will return fewer results. However, the results should contain records that are more relevant. (Examples: *Genealogists: search by the last name of the family or individual you are researching. *For information about a particular county or locality, including maps, search by county/locality name.)

Title search. Use to search for an exact title. If you are unsure of the order of words in the title or only remember part of it, use the keyword search instead.

Author search. Enter the author’s last name followed by first name if known. The last name is the most important component in this search. If you are unsure of the spelling, you will be able to see authors with lastnames similar to the one you entered and identify the correct one.

Advanced Search

***For an advanced search of our collections, please note that the Collection dropdown menu must be set to South Carolina Historical Society.***

Advanced Search will allow combination searches of Author, Title, Subject, and Note. The default is Any Field, which will search all of the fields and return the most results. The Material Type menu, which allows you to specify a type of resource, may be useful in advanced searches. Researchers interested in primary source materials may find it helpful to select manuscript or archive from this menu.

Too few results. Try broadening your search. Keep only the most important search terms and remove any restrictions you placed on the Material Type or Date range. Consider setting the search terms to Any Field (the default), which is the broadest possible search option. In the dropdown boxes between search terms, consider changing the AND to OR. An OR search will bring up records that have either of the search terms in them. Add synonyms or related words to the search separated by an OR statement.

Too many results. Try narrowing your search. Add more search terms. If the search terms are set to Any Field, consider selecting one of the other dropdown options, e.g. Author, Title, or Subject. In the dropdown boxes between search terms, consider setting to AND. Search terms separated by AND must both be contained in a record for it to be a result. The AND NOT option may also be useful in removing a category of records irrelevant to your search. The term listed after AND NOT will be eliminated from the results. (E.g. “Slave insurrections” AND NOT “Denmark Vesey” for a search on slave revolts, but not the one involving Denmark Vesey.)