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Using Special Collection's SCOUT

This guide introduces users to SCOUT, the system for searching manuscript collections and University Archives at the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Tennessee.

Searching SCOUT ArchivesSpace

Use SCOUT to search within archives collection guides and to find digital material.

SCOUT  gives you the option to search by keyword, title, creator, subject, descriptive notes, or by an identifier (collection number). Knowing the purpose of your search will help you decide how to use SCOUT. Collection records can also be browsed.

If you want to search for a subject across collections, start with broad terms and then review the results before narrowing your search. Also note that terms change over time so you may need to try different variations, such as "natural history" as well as "biology" or "foreign students" and "international students."

Note: Most, but not all, collection guides are publicly available. Users may contact Special Collections if they think we may hold a collection but cannot find a collection guide online.

Starting your Search

On the SCOUT home page, you will find two options to search collections. Clicking the magnifying glass will bring you to the SCOUT search page. There is also a search box at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot marked up to show where to click to search in SCOUT.

The default option will search all record types, including:

  • collection records
  • archival records (series, sub-series, file, and item-level records)
  • subjects

Click on the plus sign + button to add additional search terms.

Screenshot marked up to show where to enter search terms and how to add additional search terms in SCOUT.

After entering your terms, hit the Search button.

Screenshot marked up to show where to click to run your search in SCOUT.

Search Tips

Use boolean operators to narrow your searches.

  • Use AND to only find results containing both keywords. Example: Special AND assistant

  • Use OR to return results with containing one or both of the keywords. Example: Special OR assistant

  • SCOUT performs OR searches when multiple keywords are in the same field. Special assistant will return the same results as special OR assistant.

  • Use NOT to exclude terms from the results. Example: Special NOT assistant

  • Use quotation marks ("") to enclose terms that should be found together. Example: "Special Assistant"

  • Use an asterisk (*) to expand your search. Search for librar* to find words starting with librar, such as library, libraries, librarian, and librarians.

Advanced Searching

Narrow your search by limiting the fields searched. The default option will look for keywords throughout all record fields.

Select Limit to collections to refine your search to only include collection-level records.

Screenshot marked up identifying where to "limit to collection"

Other options include limiting the search to:

  • titles of materials
  • creators of collections or objects
  • notes that further describe collections, objects, or creators
  • identifier the unique number that identifies collections or objects

Screenshot marked up to identify how to limit your search to keyword, title, creator, subject, notes, or identifier.

Add year ranges to restrict the results to a particular time frame. Enter the year as four digits (YYYY).

After entering your terms, hit the Search button.

Note: not all records have associated dates, creators, or descriptive notes.

Viewing and Filtering Results

On the results page, you can sort results by:

  • relevance (default view)
  • alphabetically by title
  • chronologically by year

Results can be filtered by record types and subjects. These filters are listed in the column to the right of search results. The number to the right of each filter link shows the number of results in each category.

Use the search box on the right to search within results.

Screenshot marked up to show where/how to refine search, search within results, sort results, and narrow results further.

The structure and content of this library guide were adapted from MIT Libraries' Using MIT Archivespace library guide.