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Guide to Coventry Archives and Research Centre Collections

To help you get the most out of the searching facilities it will be helpful if we explain a little about how we catalogue our collections:

When we receive a collection we note who created the records and try to preserve their original order.  As with many archive institutions not all of our records are fully catalogued on the computer.  Cataloguing such collections is part of an on-going process as is the improvement of older catalogues which may not have been done to modern day standards.  Therefore using the subject and persons fields alone (see advanced search) for searching purposes may produce a disappointing number of results.  For example searching for Daimler in the persons field will only produce one result.

We catalogue our collections using a hierarchy, with different levels used to organise the records. This hierarchy starts at the top with a general description of the whole collection. As you move down the hierarchy, the descriptions are more specific and refer to smaller parts of the collection, until at the bottom you find a description of one item within the collection.  We aim not to repeat information as we go down the hierarchy and therefore it may be useful at times to consider a record found in a search in the context of its collection to help you decide whether it is a useful record for your research.  You will see in your search results that there will be a hierarchy browser which will help you find a record’s contextual information.  Item level descriptions generally relate to an actual document you could order up in our Research room. The other levels are there to place that item in context within the collection.

Please note that although all our collections have at least a collection level description if there is no hierarchy shown that is a clue that the collection is not fully catalogued on the computer. There may be a paper catalogue in existence which can help.  Please contact us in that case. or telephone 02476 237583.