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Three sources

When you are searching in the Archives Portal Europe, bear in mind that it contains three sources of content:

  1. Archival materials ("archives") consisting of administrative records, documents, letters, maps, manuscripts, books and photos etc that you can consult in archival institutions. The information is provided in the form of finding aids, holdings guides and source guides, which provide information about those materials.
  1. Information about person, family and corporate body entities ("names") such as Galileo Galilei, House of Habsburg and the East India Company. This source offers a new way of exploring a wide range of archival information. You can access archival materials through their creators or associated entities and you may find previously unknown relationships between the archives and entities.
  1. Information about archival institutions in Europe. This is an extra source to find information about the institutions, which hold archival materials, as contact and service information is essential for your visit and consultation. You can also find further information such as the list of finding aids and holdings guides that an institution already has made available at the Archives Portal Europe.

In case you are interested in the data standards used for these contents, there is more information on them over here.


Simple search

This is the most popular way of searching the content. You can simply type keywords in the search box on the home page or on the search page.

Simple search and autocompletion


When typing the keywords, you will see some suggestions of terms with an indicator of the number of results. The suggestions when searching from the homepage also refer to what sources the results are from (archives, names and institutions).

Advanced search

For more experienced users, we provide advanced search options when searching in each of the three sources (archives, names, and institutions) separately. There are two or three blocks of options (see block 1, 2, and 3 in the images below) depending on the type of source.

Browse, select and specify your interest using the advanced search options 1/2


Browse, select and specify your interest using the advanced search options 2/2


Below the search box (block 3), you will find three options. "View result(s) in context" will open the context view in the first place when searching in archives. "Match at least one word" will return results containing just one of several words. This is equivalent to the Boolean operator OR, widening your search results. This search can be useful when using variations of keywords at once, for example, in multiple languages. "Only material with digital objects" is convenient when you are only interested in archives containing digital objects such as scanned letter and photographs.

Search in archives

In block 1, you can select countries, archives and single holdings, for which you would like to execute a search, from a hierarchically structured list. In block 2, you can specify element (Title, Content summary, Reference code), document type (Only finding aids, Only holdings guides, Only source guides) and the dates of your search. When you are interested in specific dates, the "Exact date search" option is handy.

Search in names

There are only blocks 2 and 3. In block 2, you can specify element (Name, Identifier, Place, Occupation, Mandate, Function), entity type (Person, Family, Corporate body) and the date of your search.

Search in institutions

There are only blocks 2 and 3. In block 2, you can specify the type of archives as well as the element (Only name, Only place).