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Guide to an Index Search

Use the Garden Archives Index to navigate through the key concepts that appear in correspondence, drawings, and photographs. Each entry in the index serves as a link to the content that contains that topic. The index can be browsed in alphabetical order, by clicking the lettered tabs. It can be searched using a text search that finds exact letter-by-letter matches.

The Garden Archives Index is a three-level index, which was built first with concepts drawn from the correspondence. Drawings and photographs were added later. Top-level terms, which appear in the largest font, are the broadest concepts. Clicking a top-level term takes you to a results page with multiple pieces of content. Second and third-level terms become progressively narrower in focus. Some second-level and most third-level terms are linked to a single piece of content. Clicking these terms opens the content in the rightmost tab inside the Garden Archives webpage. To open multiple links from the index, use right-click (PC) or command-click (Mac) to open new tabs in your browser.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I search the Garden Archives Index?
To search the index, enter a keyword or phrase in the search box. The words will be searched exactly as entered, and will retrieve results that match, letter-by-letter, including punctuation. The index search functions much like the ctrl-F (PC) or command-F (Mac) simple search shortcut available in your browser or Microsoft Word.Many keyboard shortcuts like ctrl-F are available to you in the Garden Archives, and may prove useful in your research. For a list of most universal keyboard shortcuts, visit this page.

A total number of results is given under the search box, and index entries containing exact matches are highlighted throughout the index. To navigate between matches, use the arrows. When you reach the last relevant match within an alphabetical tab, the index will briefly clear and reload your search in the next alphabetical tab containing search results.

The tips listed below will make your searching more efficient and comprehensive.

Frequently occurring people and places are identified with the following abbreviations. All people and places can be found by searching complete names, but some searches will require the use of abbreviations, since an exact match must occur or results will not appear.

BF Beatrix Farrand
CP Caroline D. Phillips
DO Dumbarton Oaks
IMS Isabelle M. Stover
JT John Thacher
MB Mildred Barnes Bliss
MxF Max Farrand
RB Robert Woods Bliss
RH Ruth Havey
RP Robert W. Patterson
RW Rose A. Willgoose
SBBG Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Index terms that include diacritics will only be matched to searches that include diacritics. For example, the index term "liliacées" cannot be found by searching "liliacees." If your keyboard cannot type diacritics, it can be helpful to search parts of the word before or after the diacritical mark. In our example, searching "liliac" brings up the desired matches.

Garden Area Names
Names of many garden areas have changed over time. To ensure your index search covers all possible results for a garden area, search alternate names and variant spellings of names. A complete list of possibilities can be found on the Chronology of Garden Names page.

Articles and Prepositions
Leave off initial articles when searching a phrase such as “The Oaks. See also Dumbarton Oaks; under Quercus.” Initial articles and prepositions are skipped in alphabetizing, and therefore are masked from searching as well. If you cannot find a phrase using a search with initial articles or prepositions included, try searching again with only keywords. This rule applies to terms in English and foreign languages throughout the index. See the lists below for articles and prepositions to skip at the beginning of a phrase.

English articles: a, an, the.

Foreign articles: le, la, l', les, un, une, des, du, de la, de l', des.

English prepositions: against, along, as, at, before, between, by, during, for, from, in, into, of, on, some, to, under, versus, vs, with.

A search will only return results that match your word or phrase exactly, including punctuation.


Blackwells = no results

Blackwell's = 3 results

Alternate spellings
If your search word or term may have an alternate British English spelling, be sure to search that variation as well as the American spelling. You may find additional relevant results that were not returned before.


theatre = 7 results

theater = 8 results


How do I clear a search?
Highlight and delete your keyword or phrase. The index will reset automatically, erasing your previous search.


How do I modify a search?
Change or retype the keyword or phrase in the search box, and the index will automatically initiate a new search using your modified term after a few seconds.


Can I search just one alphabetical tab of the index?
You can initiate a search from any letter of the index, and begin browsing results in that letter first. A new search always highlights and jumps to the closest exact match. This can be useful if you know that your desired term appears in a certain letter and you do not want to click through matches found in many other letters.


How do I reduce the number of results?
If you know the exact term you are looking for, you can add more words to a phrase in the search box. You can also try searching both singular and plural variations on a word to see how this changes your results. If your concept remains too broad, try searching synonyms or thematically related terms.

Example: A search for "Garden" retrieves too many results.

Index search returning results for "Garden."

Example: A search for "Garden Library" reduces the number of results.

Results for index search term "Garden Library."


Why are there no results for my search?
There is no letter-by-letter match for the word or phrase you entered in the search box. Check for spelling and typing errors. Try searching singular and plural forms, spelling variations, or parts of the word. For compound words, search the words together and separately. An exact match includes punctuation. If you are not sure that you are including exact punctuation, try searching parts of a phrase without including punctuation. Revisit "How do I search the Garden Archives Index?" for a list of other common issues that may help you revise your search to get results.


grape arbors = no results
grape arbor = 19 results

peony = 7 results
peonies = 5 result

landscape = 368 results
landscapes = 2 results
landscaping = 12 results
landscap (finds results for all variant word endings) = 380 results

sun dial = 7 results
sundial = 12 results


How do I search different forms of words?
Because the Index Search looks for exact letter-by-letter matches, you must perform two separate searches using both plural and singular terms to find results that match both forms of the word. For example, you must search both "cemetery" and "cemeteries" to retrieve comprehensive results. This occurs for all words that change spelling in plural form.

When the root of a word does not change, you can enter just a few letters of a word that you wish to find, and all variations on that word will be highlighted as matches. For example, searching for "plant" brings up "plant," "plants," "planting," and "plantings" as search results. To search strictly for singular forms of a word, enter the term followed by striking the space bar.


How do I find specific people in the index?
Top-level terms are the broadest entries for individuals. To find the top-level term for a specific person, enter his or her name into the search box in Last Name, First Name order, with a comma separating the names.


Thacher, John

Some people appear in the correspondence without last names. These people are indexed under "Surname Unknown."


Surname Unknown, Beatrice.


Can I save my search?
When you perform a search, the Garden Archives Index saves your search term and place in the index when you click an index term to open content. The index will also save your active search when you move between the Contents, Index, Search & Refine, and About the Archives tabs. The Index tab only resets if you navigate away from the index without performing a search, if you erase the search box, or if you reload the entire Garden Archives site.

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