Local History Photograph & Postcard Collection  SCPL Photograph & Postcard Collection — Search Help

Photo of Children at the Chamber of Commerce Park, S.C.

Search Help

This section discusses the three ways to find images:

  • browsing the Subject Catalog
  • using the Keyword Search feature to find specific words
  • browsing an album

For an overview of the collection and its organization, see the Introduction

[ Photo: Children at the Chamber of Commerce Park on Beach Hill, Santa Cruz. Undated. ]



Major local history subjects

The Subject Catalog is a list of subject categories relating to Santa Cruz County history. Categories include such topics as events, buildings, businesses, parks, occupations, organizations, transportation, and people.

The basic structure of the Catalog is an alphabetical list of major subject categories (displayed in capitals). "HOTELS, CAMPS, ETC." is an example of a major subject category.

Under most major categories are sub-categories. In general, sub-categories are created when there are three or more images of the same thing. "Casa del Rey" is an example of a sub-category under "HOTELS, CAMPS, ETC."

How images are assigned to a category

An image is assigned to a category based on its primary subject. For example, an image of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk would be listed under the category,"TOURIST ATTRACTIONS," as well as its sub-category, "Beach Boardwalk and Casino."

An image may have more than one important subject. If it does, it is listed under more than one category.

The SEARCH Feature

Specific words and proper names

The search feature may be used to search the notes, subject headings and/or keywords for each image. The notes describe the image and, when possible, give additional information. Notes often include personal names, businesses, events, buildings, streets, locations, activities, and dates. The search feature allows you to search for specific words or dates that do not appear as categories in the Subject Catalog.

Minor subjects and incidental objects

You can also use the search form to look for incidental objects in images. Most images include objects or subjects that are not the main subject of the image. For example, an image might depict a man who has a moustache and is wearing a watch. The main subject is the man; the moustache and watch are incidental objects. Incidental objects are listed as keywords in the notes.

To ensure consistency, keywords are taken from the Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials.

Search conventions

The search engine performs a simple search. It does not support boolean searching (do not use "and", "or", "not"). Do not use quotation marks or truncate. Capitalization is not necessary.

Browsing the results of a search

Depending on how many hits your search produces, the results page may or may not be able to display them all on the first page. To view all of the results click on the "Show all..." button near the top of the page. Use the "Next" and "Back" buttons to navigate through the result set. Clicking on a thumbnail will display an enlarged view of the photograph.


Browse all the images in an album (collection) by clicking on an album "cover" to display a page of thumbnails. Use the navigation links at the top and bottom of each page to move through the entire collection. To view an enlarged version of an image (along with more detailed notes), click on the thumbnail. Subject headings and keywords can also be browsed in this manner. Clicking the subject headings or keywords that appear under each thumbnail displays a new "album" containing only those terms.