Trinity Western University

Searching Guidelines

Getting Started


Basic Search

To use the basic default search, simply enter names or keywords into the box provided.
Narrow or broaden a search by using the Boolean Operators listed on the main search page, under "search tips."
For more information about any record displayed in "search results," click on the blue title link at the top of the record.
A list of useful subject terms used to describe archival photographs can be found here.

Advanced Search

For more search options, click on the "advanced search" link immediately below the default search box.

Type desired name(s) or term(s) into the search box, and then press enter or click on the "search" button at the bottom of the form.

The advanced search screen allows the researcher to:

Not enough results? Use fewer - or broader - terms, return the field selection to its "any field" default, or remove any filters you may have applied. Double-check your spelling. If you have used the singular form of a noun (eg. Statute) try the plural form (eg. Statutes). For names of people, try using the family name only.

Too many results? Apply a filter, or click on the "add new criteria" button to search on multiple fields at once.
Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase.


The options listed in the "any field" drop-down menu allow researchers to search the following specific sections or elements of an archival description:

Search Filters

A list of search filters is available on the Advanced Search page. These filters allow the researcher to refine a search using any of the following parameters:

  1. Top-level descriptions
  2. General material designation
  3. Media Type
  4. Digital object available
  5. Level of description
  6. Copyright status


This filter allows researchers to search within a specific fonds or collection. Place your cursor inside this filter's search box and type the name of an office or department (eg. President's Office or Library) to see if the TWU Archives holds a fonds or collection from that department. (Note: the list cannot be scrolled).


The GMD filter allows a search to be limited to the following record formats:


This filter allows the researcher to limit results to a particular type of digital object (e.g. audio, image, etc.).


The "digital object available" filter allows the researcher to limit results to those with a digital object (eg. scanned photographs, digitized sound recordings, or scanned PDF copies of paper records) attached, or to limit results to record descriptions with no such objects attached, by selecting "yes" or "no" from the drop-down menu.

Note, however, that if a record is linked to more than one digital object, this limiter may not work properly. (This is particularly problemmatic for audio recordings, which often have more than one digitized sound file attached, as well as PDF copies of transcripts.)

Digital collections can also be accessed via the "digital objects" link under the "browse" menu on the left side of the screen.


The "level of description" filter allows a search to be limited using the following eight options, representing levels at which archival records are described or catalogued:


This filter links to a field rarely used by the TWUA. Please contact archival staff if you have questions about using archival materials, or if you wish to copy records for a purpose other than research or private study.


To search by date, use the following search strings:

To search by date range, use the advanced search page, select "add new criteria," and enter two date searches (as formatted above) joined with "AND." Leave the Field selector at its "any field" default.

Accessing Archival Materials

To access records that are not available in digital form via the online database (i.e. the majority of paper records), please make an appointment to visit the TWU Archives in person.


* A list of helpful search keywords used to describe archival photographs can be found here.