Search tips

There are two types of searches you can do in Alvin, one simple and one extended. The simple search is the search box you find right when you land on Alvin's homepage. The extended search takes you to a search page that gives you more opportunities to refine your search and combine keywords. After you have done a search, you can further refine the search result by applying one of Alvin's many filters.

Simple search

The simple search can be found at the top of the Alvin portal's front page and it follows in the navigation no matter where you are in the search interface. It allows you to do a free text search throughout Alvin as well as easily change an ongoing search or start a new one. It is also possible to narrow the simple search to specific resource types by selecting the type you want in the drop-down list to the left of the search box.

Extended search

To get to this type of search you need to click on the Extended search link to the right of the search box. In the extended search, you can search for one or more of the specific fields that the cataloguers filled in with information about the different objects. For example, here you can refine your searches to search for specific subject words or a particular technique that has been used to create a physical object that has been digitised and made available in Alvin. You can also combine several keywords with so-called Boolean operators where you can, for example, exclude certain keywords or search among synonyms.


After doing your simple or extended search, you end up with a page with your search results. Here you can further refine your search results by selecting one of the many filters found in the column to the left of the search results list. There are several types of filters to choose from: resource type, person/organisation, archive institution, country of origin and year, and language. For example, if you are only interested in the results of a specific Alvin member, you have the opportunity to click on this among archive institutions.

If there is digitally published material among the hits, it is also possible to quickly limit the result to only those by selecting the "Free online" boundary at the top of the left column.

Sorting the search result

It is possible to sort the hit list in Alvin in alphabetical order (both ascending and descending) by title, first creator or resource type or by year of origin (oldest/newest).

However, the default setting is "relevance" where the system ranks the hits by how many times the keyword appears in the record or in which fields it exists. For example, title and author are higher ranked than notes. Items with the highest ranking come first in the hit list.

Display of search results

You can choose to display between 10 and 250 entries at a time in the hit list. It can also be displayed either as a list (default setting) or as images. In the latter case, only the thumbnail image of the entry is displayed on the page, which may be more clear, for example during an image search.