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Using the Collections


The Carnegie Mellon University Archives Digital Collections portal allows you to search across all of our digitized collections. Browsing will let you explore individual collections in more depth. 

Our collections feature a wide range of materials including newspapers, maps, manuscripts, letters, publications, and more. To date the University Libraries has scanned close to 2 million pages of resources, providing 24/7 access to thousands of researchers. 

Our digital collections have been scanned using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology that provides full-text searching capabilities. This allows users to search through all of the digitized documents for specific words and phrases. 

Basic Search 

A Basic Search can be performed using keywords. All text and item descriptions will be searched, providing results based on relevance by default. 

If you are searching for a specific phrase, put your search inquiry in quotes.  

When searching a person's name try searching using first initials and middle initial. For example, if you are looking for your grandfather and his name is William Carter Davis try searching: 

  • “William Carter Davis”  

  • “William C. Davis”  

  • “W. C. Davis” 

You might also try searching for the person’s nickname. For example, for William Carter Davis also try searching for Bill Carter Davis. 


Advanced Search 

Coming soon! 

Our Collections page displays a list of all collections available for use. Selecting a collection will take you to a page describing the collection and a link to the collection itself. 


An arrow pointing to the link taking you to the collection

Within the collection, you can use filters to narrow your results. If you want to search for a specific term within the collection, your filters will reset and you will need to reselect the collection from the options on the left. 


An arrow pointing at the location of collection filters



Search results can be sorted based on relevance, date, or title. 


An arrow pointing at the location of the ordering options


Facets & Filtering 

You can refine your search results using the facets on the left side of the page. Using these you can restrict your search results to items from a specific collection, date range, or type. 

If you search for a new term, all of your filters will reset. 



If the word or phrase search appears in the text of the document, the search result will show a “snippet” demonstrating how the term appears. If a term appears multiple times in a document, the snippet will only show the first result.  


An arrow pointing to an example of "snippets" in search results


After locating a document that you would like to view by either browsing or searching, click the item's title. The item will be presented in a document viewer called “Mirador.” 

Words or phrases that were used to search will be highlighted within the document. The left side of the viewer will show all results for a term in the item. You can jump to additional results by clicking on them, or by clicking on the highlight on the image. 


Search Within the Item 

You can search for any word or phrase when viewing an item. If the search box is not already displayed, you can find it by clicking the three lines in the upper left of the viewer (the “hamburger” menu), and selecting the magnifying glass.  

You cannot use quotes or other special characters when searching within Mirador.  


Arrow pointing to the Mirador hamburger menu
   The location of the sidebar / hamburger menu




An arrow pointing to the search icon
     The location of the search tool



Entire documents can be downloaded as a PDF or single pages can be downloaded as JPEGs. To download, click the three vertical dots at the upper right corner of the viewer and select your preferred option. 


An arrow pointing at the location of the download menu
     The location of the download menu


Changing the Display 

You can change how a document is displayed by clicking the display view icon at the upper right of the viewer. You can change the location of page thumbnails and the number of pages displayed.


An arrow pointing to the location of the viewer options
    The location of the viewer options



0  (zero) : recenters & unzooms page back to original settings 

-/=   : zoom out/zoom in 

r    : rotate clockwise 

R  : rotate counter-clockwise 

f  : flip a page left-to-right 

arrow keys: move image on screen  (can also use w/s/a/d keys)