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AtoM@DO FAQ

AtoM@DO is an online database that brings together the archival collections of the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) and the Dumbarton Oaks Archives (DOA), enabling discovery of related materials across the institution. These are frequently asked questions about using the database (http://atom.doaks.org).

Frequently Asked Questions

For additional questions or feedback, contact ICFA staff at .

VIEWING COLLECTIONS

1. What is a collection?

2. Where can I find descriptions of each collection?

3. How do I view the files within a collection?

4. What are Related Units of Description?

5. Where can I find information about how to access a collection and if there are any restrictions?

6. How do I cite material from a collection?

SEARCHING AND BROWSING

7. How do I search the database?

8. What is included in my search results?

9. How do I browse by access points?

9a. How do I browse Names?

9b. How do I browse Places?

9c. How do I browse Subjects?

10. How do I search or browse collections within a Department?

11. How do I browse Digital Objects?

12. How does the Advanced Search work?

13. Do I have to include accent marks and other diacritics in my search terms?

PRINTING AND EXPORTING

14. How do I print a list of the files in a collection?

15. What are the Export links for on each record?

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What is a collection?

A collection is a group of materials – documents, photographs, born digital files – that were created or assembled by a person, organization, or repository. A collection may also be referred to as a “fonds.” Collections are divided into various groupings in a hierarchical fashion: Collection, Subgroup, Series, Subseries, File, and Item. 

To view the collections in AtoM@DO, go to the Browse menu to the right of the Search box in the header at the top of the page.

Click “Collections” in the resulting drop-down menu. The database will load a page of results - click on any hyperlinked title to view the individual collection-level descriptive record. This archival description will provide information about the extent of the collection, its creator(s), the scope and content, access instructions, and a preferred citation. Collection-level records are often lengthy, so scroll down the page to view all the fields. If you see the expand icon (), click to view additional text in that field. You can hide the text again by clicking on the collapse icon ().

The collection-level record also lists various access points, including Subjects, Names, and Places, both within the body of the record, as well as in the right-hand Context menu. These are all active links, so click on a term to view the term record and other related records. If the collection is cataloged, you will be able to browse through the files using the arrows in the tree-view Context menu in the left-hand side of the page.

If the collection is not yet cataloged, check the Finding aids field in the Conditions of Access and Use Area for information about preliminary inventories or other collection guides.

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Where can I find descriptions of each collection?

Every collection represented in AtoM@DO includes a Scope and content note describing the collection in the Content and Structure Area. If you see the expand icon (), click to view additional text in that field. You can hide the text again by clicking on the collapse icon ().

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How do I view the files within a collection?

When viewing a file-level record, note the Context menus to the left and right of the main data display. On the left, the Context menu includes links to records for the collection’s department and a tree-view of the collection files. On the right, the Context menu displays links to Related subjects, Related people and organizations, Related places, and Physical storage information.

A breadcrumb trail at the top of the page will display a record’s context within the larger collection. You can use the hyperlinked titles to navigate up or down the archival hierarchy.

To navigate the archival hierarchy, use the tree-view Context menu in the left-hand side of the page. If you see an arrow () to the left of the collection title in the tree-view, you can click on the icon to view records for the files within that collection. (Note: The lack of an arrow next to a collection title indicates that the collection has not yet been fully cataloged.)

Once you expand a record group, the arrow will change to point down () and display the next level within the arrangement. Click back on an expanded arrow to close the group, or continue expanding each level to view the entire collection, progressing through child records for subgroups, series, subseries, files, and items. To scroll through a lengthy list of records, click on the ellipsis icon () that appears at the top or bottom of the list. To view the description of an individual record, click on its title in the tree-view to display the relevant record in the center of the page.

You can also search the descriptions within a collection with the “Quick search” tab next to the “Holdings” tab at the top of the tree-view panel. Use this dedicated search box to perform targeted searches for titles and reference codes only within the hierarchy of a collection. To return to the tree-view, simply click on the “Holdings” tab.

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What are Related units of description?

Other collections that are related to the creator’s work that may be of interest to the researcher are noted in the Allied Materials Area of the collection-level record. When applicable, the record will list related collections at Dumbarton Oaks and at other archival repositories.

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Where can I find information about how to access a collection and if there are any restrictions?

Check the Conditions governing access note in the Conditions of Access and Use Area for the collection-level record. If you see the expand icon (), click to view additional text in that field. You can hide the text again by clicking on the collapse icon ().

Certain records may have specific instructions for how to access a group of materials or particular items, especially for special formats such as photographs, negatives, or digital images. Always check the Conditions governing access field in any record you are viewing, regardless of the level within the archival hierarchy.

Please note: The Conditions of Access and Use Area is where you can find information about any Conditions governing reproduction or the Language of material. This is also the area that lists additional Finding aids or inventories for the collection (when available). If you don’t find this in the file you are viewing, check the collection-level record. 

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How do I cite material from a collection?

For ICFA collections, you can find the Preferred citation in the Rights Area of the collection-level record. This area is at the bottom of the collection-level record, so you will need to scroll to the end of the page.

Please note: There is also a Preferred citation template provided in the About page in AtoM@DO or on ICFA’s website. Currently, it is not possible to export a citation.

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How do I search the database?

Use the Search box, which appears in the header on all pages in AtoM@DO.

When you click into the Search box, the resulting drop-down gives you the option to perform a Global Search, or click on a link for the Advanced search. If you have previously viewed an archival description or the information page for a Department, you may see an additional option in the drop-down menu to search within a single Department’s holdings.

 

To start searching, type in the first few characters of your search term. The Search box employs a “typeahead” feature, so that as you begin to type, the search engine will suggest possible matches in a drop-down menu. The search engine is responsive, so the more characters you enter, the drop-down menu will dynamically display more relevant results.

 

The suggested results are sorted into groups, whether archival descriptions (), Names (), Places (), or Subjects (). Your search term or partial search term will be highlighted in orange text. Click on a title to go directly to that particular record. If there are multiple results, the drop-down menu will display links for “all matching descriptions,” “all matching people & organizations,” or “all matching subjects.”

If you’d rather proceed with your own keyword search, rather than the suggested results, simply press Enter on your keyboard to launch a search query in the database. By default, this keyword search will only return results for archival descriptions. While you can use the guided “type-ahead” search to locate Names, Places, and Subjects, in order to keyword search these taxonomies, you will need to use the dedicated search boxes at the top of their respective Browse pages. See: How do I browse by access points?

Search tips:

  • Terms entered in the Search box are automatically searched with an “or” operator.
  • Use quotes around multiple words to search for phrases or full names.
  • Use other Boolean operators, such as “and” to combine terms or “and not” to exclude terms. For a full list of available search operators, see AtoM’s documentation.

 

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What is included in my search results?

Your search results include any record in which your search term appears. This means collection-level records will appear alongside lower-level files that may be a part of that same collection. After executing a search query, your results will load on a new page. Your search term will appear at the top of the page, followed by the total number of results.

The results themselves will appear in the main area of the screen. Each search result includes several pieces of information to help you determine whether a given record is relevant to your query.

  • Titles appear in blue text. These are active links – click on a title to display that archival description.
  • Identifiers are displayed in orange text. Records from the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives will have a DcWaDIC identifier. Those from the Dumbarton Oaks Archives will have a DDO-DOA identifier.
  • On the same line as the identifier, the level of description and dates appear in gray text. The level of description indicates whether the record describes a collection, series, or file within the archive.
  • A short description provides an excerpt from the Scope and Content note of the archival description.
  • The Creator associated with the record appears below the description in gray text. 

The Search results page will display the first 100 results from your search query. To continue browsing through the records, scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the pager tool to view the rest of the results set.

AtoM 2.1 employs Elasticsearch to power its search engine. Please note that results are not weighted by level of description or field in which your term appears. So, you should use the Facet filters in the left-hand side of the page to narrow your results. The counts next to the filter terms represent the number of archival descriptions that have the filter terms associated with your search term. You can expand and collapse each facet by clicking on the down and up arrows in each facet label.

You have the option to filter your results by:

  • Level of description: Limits results to a specific level of description, e.g. collection, series, file, item, etc. Use this filter if you only want to view the top-level collection records related to your search term.
  • Department: Limit to a specific holding repository at Dumbarton Oaks, i.e. “Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives” or “Dumbarton Oaks Archives.”
  • Creator: Lists the top ten authority records associated with your search term as a Creator access point.
  • Name: Lists the top ten authority records associated with your search term as a Subject access point.
  • Location: Lists the top ten place terms associated with your search term as a Place access point.
  • Subject: Lists the top ten subject terms associated with your search term as a Subject access point.

There are two additional Facet filters that may be less useful to current AtoM@DO users. The Media type filter limits results to those with a digital object. AtoM@DO only has a limited number of digital objects, but the numbers will grow in the future. The Language filter limits results to records in a specific language. However, AtoM@DO only contains records in English.

When you click on a facet term to narrow the results, the page will reload with the related records. If you click on a second facet term, results will be returned that are associated with both selected facet terms. Click back on the bolded/underlined facet term to unselect the filter. By using different combinations of Facet filters, you can continue to narrow down your search results to the most relevant records for your query.

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How do I browse by access points?

Access points such as Names, Places, and Subjects directly link to archival descriptions throughout the system. Browsing with these terms is a good method for users who are interested in creators that appear in multiple collections or who want to identify archival descriptions related to a specific topic or place of interest.

Go to the Browse menu, which is located to the right of the Search box in the header at the top of all pages in AtoM@DO.

You have the option to browse by Names, Places, or Subjects.

 

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How do I browse Names?

Click “Names” in the resulting drop-down menu from the Browse menu. The Names Browse page will appear, displaying the complete list of name authority records in the center area of the screen.

  • SEARCH: To search within all the authority records, enter a name in the dedicated search box at the top of the page. To execute your search query either click on the search button () or press Enter on your keyboard. To clear the field and start a new search you can click the “x” button () next to your search term.
  • SORT RESULTS: In the upper right corner of the page, click the arrow in the “Sort by” menu to rearrange your results by “Alphabetic” order, by “Identifier,” or by “Most recent record.” The Identifier refers to the reference code for the record. “Most recent record” will display the most recently added records at the top of the result list.

 

  • FACET RESULTS: You may also facet by entity type, “Person” or “Corporate body” using the Facet filter on the left-hand side of the screen. Click on a facet term in the “Entity Type” filter area to narrow your search results. Click back on the bolded/underlined term to unselect the filter.
  • VIEW RECORD: Once you have found the authority record that you would like to view, click on the name in the list in the central area of the page. Each authority record will display the following fields for each person, corporate body, or family (when applicable): authorized and alternative forms of the name, dates of existence, biographical/administrative history note, sources, etc. History notes are often lengthy, so, click on the expand icon () to view the additional text. If a particular person or corporate body is the Creator or Subject of an archival description, the top 10 titles for the relevant records will display in the left-hand side of the page. These are all active links, so click on the titles to view the associated archival description.

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How do I browse Places?

Click “Places” in the resulting drop-down menu from the Browse menu. The Places Browse page will appear, displaying the complete list of place terms in the center area of the screen. 

In the list, the left-hand “Places term” column displays the preferred forms of the geographic terms in blue with the number of child terms displayed in parentheses. Alternative forms of the name are also listed in this column, labeled as “Use for.” For any given term, the right-hand “Results” column will indicate the number of archival descriptions that are associated with that term.

  • SEARCH: To search the entire places taxonomy, enter a term in the dedicated search box at the top of the page. To execute your search query either click on the search button () button or press Enter on your keyboard. To clear the field and start a new search you can click the “x” button () button next to your search term.

You can refine your search by clicking on the arrow next to “All labels” to the left of the search box. You can choose to limit your search to “All labels” (all the terms for a given place), “Preferred label” (only the preferred version of the place term in AtoM@DO), or “’Use for’ labels” (the alternative, non-preferred, forms of the place term).

  • SORT RESULTS: In the upper right corner of the page, click the arrow in the “Sort by” menu to rearrange your results by “Alphabetic” order or by “Most recent record.”
  • VIEW RECORD: Once you have found the place term that you would like to view, click on the name in the list in the central area of the page. Each place term record will display the following fields (when applicable): broader terms (BT), narrower terms (NT), and alternative terms (UF, Use For). Also, for child terms, a breadcrumb trail will appear at the top of the page, indicating its parent term. You can navigate to the broader term by clicking on the hyperlinked name in the breadcrumb trail.

 

Collections for which this place term is an access point will display in the results section at the bottom of the page. Click on any of the hyperlinked titles to view the related archival description. If multiple records are associated with a place term, you can use the Facet filters in the left-hand side of the screen to narrow your results with an additional subject term. The top ten subject terms associated with the collections displayed in the results section will be listed in the “Subject” filter area. The counts represent the number of records that are associated with both the place term and the subject term. Click on a facet term to narrow the results; click back on the bolded/underlined term to unselect the filter.

Since Place terms are organized hierarchically within the Places taxonomy, parent terms are inherited to optimize searching and findability. For instance, a search for “turkey” will return results for archival descriptions that have been assigned access points for both the parent term “Turkey” and the child term “Istanbul.” However, if you would like to display only those archival descriptions that have been assigned the broader term, click on the “Exclude narrower terms” link at the top of the results list. This will reload the results to display only those records for which “Turkey” was directly added and not inherited from the narrower term “Istanbul.” A filter tag labeled “Only results directly related” will appear at the top of the results list. Click on the “x” in the filter tag to remove the filter.

  • BROWSE TAXONOMY: In the upper left corner of the page, there is a tree-view Context menu that allows you to browse the hierarchical taxonomy of place terms. Use the arrows () to expand the top-level country terms to display the child records for cities and sites within the hierarchy. To collapse a term, click on the downward arrow () to the left of the term. To scroll through the taxonomy, click on the ellipsis icon () at the top or bottom of the tree-view window. Click on a place term in the tree-view Context menu to view its record.

Next to the “Treeview” tab, the “List” tab will allow you to browse an alphabetical list of all the place terms, without the hierarchical display of the tree-view. 100 place terms will display at a time. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and use the Previous and Next buttons to navigate through the list of place terms.

Next to the “List” tab, the “Search” tab will allow you to search within the Places taxonomy. As with the dedicated search box at the top of the Places Browse page, you can limit your search to “All labels,” “Preferred label,” or “‘Use for’ labels.” Click on the gear icon to the left of search box to display these options.


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How do I browse Subjects?

Click “Subjects” in the resulting drop-down menu from the Browse menu. The Subjects Browse page will appear, displaying the complete list of subject terms in the center area of the screen. 

In the list, the left-hand “Subjects term” column displays the preferred forms of the subject terms and alternative forms, labeled as “Use for.” For any given term, the right-hand “Results” column will indicate the number of archival descriptions that are associated with that term.

  • SEARCH: To search all the Subject terms, enter a term in the dedicated search box at the top of the page. To execute your search query either click on the search button () or press Enter on your keyboard. To clear the field and start a new search you can click the “x” button () next to your search term.

You can refine your search by clicking on the arrow next to “All labels” to the left of the search box. Limit your search to “All labels” (all the terms used for a given subject), “Preferred label” (only the preferred version of the subject term in AtoM@DO), or “‘Use for’ labels” (alternative, non-preferred, forms of the subject term).

  • SORT RESULTS: In the upper right corner of the page, click the arrow in the “Sort by” menu to rearrange your results by “Alphabetic” order or by “Most recent” record.
  • VIEW RECORD: Once you have found the subject term that you would like to view, click on the name in the list in the central area of the page. Each place term record will display the following fields (when applicable): equivalent forms of the term (labeled UF, Use for) and source (indicates the controlled vocabulary from which the term is derived).

 

Collections for which this subject term is an access point will display in the results section at the bottom of the page. If multiple collections are associated with a subject term, you can use the Facet filters in the left-hand side of the screen to narrow your results with an additional place term. The top ten place terms associated with the collections displayed in the results section will be listed in the “Places” filter area. The counts represent the number of archival descriptions that are associated with both the subject term and place term. Click on a facet term to narrow the results; click back on the bolded/underlined term to unselect the filter.

  • BROWSE TERMS: In the upper left corner of the page, there is a tree-view area that allows you to browse the taxonomy of subject terms. In AtoM@DO, subject terms are not organized hierarchically like the Place terms, so subjects only appear as top-level terms with no children. To scroll through the list of terms, click on the ellipsis icon () at the top or bottom of the tree-view window. Click on a subject term in the tree-view to view its record.

Next to the “Treeview” tab, the “List” tab will allow you to browse an alphabetical list of all the subject terms. 100 subject terms will display at a time. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and use the Previous and Next buttons to navigate through the list of place terms.

Next to the “List” tab, the “Search” tab allows you to keyword search within the Subjects taxonomy. As with the dedicated search box at the top of the Subjects Browse page, you can limit your search to “All labels,” “Preferred label,” or “‘Use for labels.” Click on the gear icon to the left of search box to display these options.

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How do I search or browse collections within a department?

A department is a repository at Dumbarton Oaks that holds the materials described in AtoM@DO. For access to archival materials, you will need to contact the appropriate department to make an appointment. For a full list of repositories, go to the Browse menu to the right of the Search box in the header at the top of the page.

Click “Departments” in the resulting drop-down menu. Click on the image for the department you would like to view, whether the “Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives,” the “Dumbarton Oaks Archives,” or the “Dumbarton Oaks Research Library Rare Book Collection.”

The information page for the department will appear, listing the contact information in the center area and a brief list of holdings in the left-hand column. To browse all the collections within that department, click on the “Browse ## holdings” link at the bottom of the holdings list. Click on any collection title to display the relevant archival description. 

Since AtoM@DO contains records for collections across Dumbarton Oaks, the inventory contains descriptions for the holdings of multiple departments. To limit your search to a particular department, click back on the Browse menu in the Search box in the header at the top of the page. Once you have viewed the information page for a department, or any archival description, you will notice that you now have the option to search within the department that you are viewing, in addition to the “Global search.” Every time you view a department’s information page, or an archival description from that department, the Search box will display the relevant option.

Select the radio button for the desired department and enter your search term. The results displayed will be limited to those housed by the selected department. To remove this filter, click on the “x” in the filter tab that appears at the top of the results list.

Remember, you can always access the profile for the holding department of an archival record by clicking on the image of the repository in the upper left corner of the screen. This will load the department’s information page, providing information on who to contact for an appointment to access the archival materials.

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How do I browse Digital Objects?

Please note: ICFA will be adding digital images to its collections as the system develops. The only digital objects currently in AtoM@DO are images from the Dumbarton Oaks Archives.

To view digitized images of documents and photographs click on the arrow in the Browse menu to the right of the Search box in the header at the top of the page.

Click “Digital Objects” in the resulting drop-down menu. The Digital Objects Browse page will appear, displaying thumbnails for all available digital objects. Click on a thumbnail image to view the record for the digital object, which will display the full-size version of the image and relevant descriptive information. The tree-view area in the left-hand side of the page will show the item’s context within its parent collection. Additionally, a breadcrumb trail at the top of the record also displays the digital object’s position within the larger collection.

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How does the Advanced Search work?

The Advanced search allows you to develop complex search queries for archival descriptions that are more targeted than general keyword searches. Click into the Search box in the header at the top of the page, then click on the “Advanced search” link that appears in the drop-down menu.

 

Enter a search term in the search field provided in the center of the page, under “Narrow down your results.” Use the drop-down menu below to limit your search query to a specific field in the archival descriptions. Options include: Title, Archival history, Scope and content, Extent and medium, Subject access points, Name access points, Place access point, Identifier, and Reference code.

You also have the option to add search filters, which are located in the left-hand side of the page. Use the drop-down menus provided to limit the results by: Repository (Department); Level of description (collection, subgroup, series, subseries, file, or item); or Top-level descriptions (collection-level records only). There are also additional search filters, but these may be less useful for current AtoM@DO users due to the nature of ICFA’s collections data: General material designation, Media type, and Digital object available, or Copyright status.

You may further refine your search by clicking the “Add new criteria” button and creating a multi-part query with Boolean operators (And, Or, Not).

Please note: The Advanced search is only used to search within archival descriptions. To search within various taxonomies, such as Names, Places, and Subjects, see: How do I browse by access points?

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Do I have to include accent marks and other diacritics in my search terms?

Yes, if you are looking for a foreign word with a diacritic, such as an accent or umlaut, you must type this character when entering your search term.

 

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How do I print a list of the files in a collection?

AtoM@DO allows you to print a file-level inventory of an archival collection, which may be helpful for printing an overview of the collection. When you are viewing the collection-level record for the desired collection, click on the Reports icon beneath the title in the upper right-hand corner of an archival description page.

The Reports page will load; the “File list” radio button will be selected by default. Please note, because most archival descriptions in AtoM@DO are not populated to the item-level, it is not recommended to select the “Item list” option. 

In the next screen, you can choose to sort your report by: “Reference code” (the identifier for the record); “Title” (alphabetical sort by Title); or “Date” (chronologically by start date). Make your selection and then click on the “Continue” button. A Print Preview of your report will appear; use your browser’s Print option to print the report.

Alternatively, ICFA provides PDF versions of finding aids for fully cataloged collections. Check the Conditions of Access and Use Area in the collection-level record for the desired archival collection. When available, the Finding aids field will display links to PDF versions of finding aids for processed collections, or preliminary inventories for unprocessed collections. Click on the hyperlink to view and print the PDF.

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What are the Export links for on each record?

AtoM@DO provides export functionality that allows you to export metadata from the database as XML. This may be useful if you want to repurpose the data in AtoM@DO in your own local system. When you are viewing the record for an archival description, authority record, or taxonomy term, you will see an Export link in the upper right hand corner of the page.

If you click on the link, the data will display in your browser. To download the data as an XML file, right- or control-click on the link and use your browser’s “Save as” or “Download as” function. The following file types can be exported from AtoM@DO:

  • Archival descriptions: EAD XML or Dublin Core XML
  • Authority records: EAC XML (Names access points)
  • Taxonomy terms: SKOS XML (Places and Subjects access points)

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