Help Topics

Understanding Search Results
Abbreviations and Symbols
Default Search Behavior
"Advanced Search" Options

Understanding Search Results

Here is a sample search result, showing what information is displayed where:

Date letter was sent
Place letter was sent from
Name of John Herschel's correspondent
This is a summary of the letter. These summaries were written for this project or, in a few cases, by other researchers.
Letter ID: A unique number that identifies this letter | Summarized by: Who wrote the summary | Physical Document: A description of the physical letter itself | Repository: Where the letter is held | Published: A modern volume where a copy of this letter has been published | Best-guess date: For sorting purposes, our best guess of when the letter was written (for undated letters).

Abbreviations and Symbols

For correspondent

Space considerations have necessitated the use of various abbreviations, e.g., "JH" for John Herschel and the first letter of the first and of the last name of the correspondent, e.g., in a letter from Charles Babbage, "CB" means "Charles Babbage".

For date and location

no date designated
no place designated
Addresses without a city are London addresses

For physical description

document (other than letter)
draft of letter
copy of letter
contemporary copy of the letter (e.g., copy kept by sender)
translation of letter (into or from English)
Abstract (of a letter)
autograph (half or more of text in sender's hand)
part autograph (any portion less than half in sender's hand)
signed or initialed by sender
signed with sender's name by an amanuensis
autograph letter signed by sender
letter in hand of amanuensis, signed by sender
contemporary copy in sender's hand, signed by sender
language of described item
incomplete (part(s) of the original document missing)
part(s) of original document destroyed
annotations by recipient
annotations by specified person
lengthy, numerous, or particularly important annotations by recipient
diagram or illustration

For Societies and Institutions

British Association for the Advancement of Science
Haileybury East India College
Royal Astronomical Society
Royal Society of London

For Journals

British Association for the Advancement of Science Reports
Philosophical Magazine
Royal Astronomical Society Memoirs
Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices
Royal Society of London Philosophical Transactions

For Publications by John Herschel:

Admiralty Manual
Herschel, John (ed.), Admiralty Manual of Scientific Enquiry; Prepared for the Use of Her Majesty’s Navy: And Adapted for Travellers in General (1849)
Cape Results
Results of Astronomical Observations Made during the Years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8 at the Cape of Good Hope; Being the Completion of a Telescopic Survey of the Whole Surface of the Visible Heavens, Commenced in 1825 by Sir J. F. W. Herschel (1847)
Essays Q.E.R.
Essays from the Quarterly and Edinburgh Reviews, with Addresses and Other Pieces (1857)
Familiar Lectures
Familiar Lectures on Scientific Subjects (1866)
The Iliad of Homer, Translated into English Accentuated Hexameters (1866)
Meteorology. From the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1861)
Outlines Astr.
Outlines of Astronomy (1849)
Physical Geography
Physical Geography: From the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1861)
Prelim. Discourse
A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1830)
The Telescope (1861)
Treatise Astr.
Treatise on Astronomy (1833)

Default Search Behavior

Search is case insensitive, so harrison and Harrison return identical matches. Searching for a partial word will match any words containing that word at any position, so tele matches telescope, telescopes and Quetelet. When multiple words are specified in a search, all words must be present for an entry to match that search; so for example, Watson telescope will only match entries containing Watson and telescope.

After performing a search from the front page, you will be taken to a results page listing results for that search. For convenience, you can refine your search or create a new search directly from the results page by using the search box at the top or bottom of the page, rather than returning to the front page.

"Advanced Search" Options

It is possible to change the default behavior of the search function by clicking the "Advanced Search" link on the front page or using the "Advanced Search" box at the left of the search results page.

Calendar entries contain several fields: the recipient/sender of correspondence, the location where correspondence was composed, a summary text, and miscellaneous archival information. By default, searching matches words in any of these fields. For example, the search Harrison will match both letters exchanged with that correspondent and letters which mention him. (Note: searches with multiple words must match all of those words, where each word may be present in any field.) You can limit which fields are searched by checking only the relevant fields' checkboxes in the "Advanced Search" options.

By default, both letters sent by and letters received by Herschel are searched. You can restrict your search to Herschel's ingoing or outgoing correspondence by checking the To JH or From JH options in the Advanced Search.

Many calendar entries have reliable dates, however some correspondence is undated. By default all entries are searched regardless of when they were sent or received. Using the Written between controls in the Advanced Search, you may limit searches to letters sent or received in a particular range of years. The year range is inclusive, so entering 1799 to 1800 will return letters sent in 1799 and 1800. If left unchecked, the Include undated material checkbox will cause search to ignore entries without reliable dates.