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Archive Database User Guide

Definitions and Descriptions
The Archive database can be searched only to the folder level. Folders may contain one document or as many as 50. The Archive database is the hard copy History Office archival guide pages. The soft copies of these pages were divided into discrete fields and moved to a database. This database consists of two tables.

The Scope Table describes each subseries (groupings of documents within a series) in general terms. The Folder Table describes each folder title, affiliated box numbers, and date ranges of documents in the folders of each box in a specific subseries.

Searches on the Archive database:

  • Are done in the folder title.
  • Full detail results will show all fields in both tables.
  • Folder titles may be as general as a description of the subject content of the foldered documents or as specific as a document title (if only one document is in a folder).
  • Search results may also be shown in context, that is, viewed as part of the subseries from which the folder came. In this view, it will be possible to see the related folders as well as the general description of the group of documents (i.e. you may view the guide pages of the subseries containing a particular folder). This is helpful if the search is to be broadened.
  • See below for descriptions and instructions on how to access information in the Archive database.

Database Definition

Field Descriptions for Records in the Archive Database

  • Location - describes which range of shelves, range of box numbers or box and folder numbers in which the physical folder will be found
  • Box Number - states in which box the folder is located
  • Subheading - states under which subheading within a box a particular folder is located
  • Folder title - states the exact title on the folder in question
  • Date - lists the date or date range of documents contained in a given folder
  • Series - describes in which series (major grouping) a particular folder within a particular subseries is located
  • Subseries - describes the title of the specific subseries (grouping of related documents within a series) in which a particular folder is located
  • Description - describes the scope and content of a given subseries. It is a broad overview of the type of information that can be found within that subseries.
  • Scope ID - contains a computer-generated number for each scope record. Folder records for a given subseries are linked to this number

Button Definitions
Each of the Search & Search Results pages contain buttons which will, when your cursor is over them and the mouse left-clicked, automatically complete a particular action. Below are the definitions of buttons on each page of the database screens.

Search Page

Execute Search - goes into the database and pulls each record that matches the search criteria as stated, applies any output organization requested and brings this data up in the search results page; found on the top and on the bottom of the Search page.

Clear Search - clears all fields in the search returning back to the default settings and deleting or clearing all data entry without executing the search; appears on the top and bottom of the search page.

Search Results Page(s)

First - on pages other than the first, brings the search results screen to the first page of results. Note: the number of pages in the search results depends on how many records containing the search criteria are returned combined with the number of records per page requested in the 'Max Page" box (default is 100).

Prev (previous) - on pages other than the first, displays the page immediately before the page of the search results currently being viewed

Next - except for the last page, displays the page immediately following the page of the search results currently being viewed

Last - displays the last page of the search results

Reset - removes all check marks made to the select boxes (to the left of the Record Number) on the search results page. Note: individual boxes may also be unchecked by clicking the cursor over a checked box

Help - opens the help pages for the Archive database

Full Format -displays the records in full format, showing all of the fields from both tables in all records that have been checked

Select All - puts check marks in all 'select' boxes on the search page being viewed (to select only a few records, click on the boxes to the left of the desired records)

Book Format - accesses the guide pages for the subseries containing the checked folder. Guide pages consist of a scope and content note describing, in general terms, the contents of each subseries as well as some background information and listing all the folder titles in all of the boxes contained in a given subseries

New Search - accesses a blank search page

Download Page - moves selected records to a page that can be printed or copied & pasted to another program (spread sheet, document, email, etc.)

Please note: All of the above buttons appear on both the top and bottom of each search results page

Top of Page - appears at the bottom of each search results page and brings the top of the search page into view

Full Detail Page

Help - accesses the Help Pages for the Archive database

Brief Format - shows the entire search results page containing the records being shown in Full Detail

New Search - accesses a blank search page

Top of Page - appears at the bottom of each full detail page and brings the top of the search page into view

Options Descriptions
The options below are all found on the Archive database search page

Series - the user may choose to search within a specific series. If no specific series is chosen, all series are searched. Only one series may be chosen for each search. The only way to 'unchoose' a series is to click another series (thus choosing it) or hit the 'esc' key on the keyboard. However, the 'esc' key will clear all of the other fields as well.

Max Rows - the default on this option is 100. This means that 100 records will show per search results page (not to be confused with the printed page). This number may be increased or decreased by the user at any time. For example: if search results come to 106, use the back button on the browser, set the 'Max Rows' to 106, hit 'execute search' again and one page will display all of the search results. If shorter pages are desired, enter any number, down to 1, that must display per page. Reminder: with any selections of records made, actions are carried out only on the search results page being viewed and will have to be repeated for each consecutive search results page.

Order Results By - allows sorting on search results. All sorting is done alphanumerically by the first word/number in the field. Sorting is allowed on box number, location, series and subseries fields. In addition, within the 'first by' sort, a second level of sorting may be added. For example, a search may be sorted by subseries and then, within the subseries, by box number. If documents are to be requested from the history collection, it is helpful to send the listing of desired documents sorted first by subseries and then by box number, making it easier for archive staff to pull documents for copying.

Output Format - the default option is the standard format, which includes series, subseries, date, folder title, box number, and location. If documents are to be ordered from the history collection, desired output is in the standard format. However, to search and view only certain fields, choose 'Optional Fields' and then check the fields desired to show in the search results.

Please note: choosing 'Description' will bring up a number of sometimes long paragraphs. If the description is to be viewed, check the results select box and choose full format or book report. Also, it is not necessary to check all of the fields; there is a full detail option on the search results page that allow viewing of all fields on any or all records desired.

How to Conduct a Search

The Search Screen

Entering Search Criteria
Search terms are entered in the boxes under 'Folder Title' since folder title is the only searchable field. Folder title is also the field in which the most specific information about the documents is contained.
There are three types of search terms that may be entered: a word, a phrase, or a truncated or root word. This database searches character strings and each example just listed is a type of character string.

Some pointers:

  • If searching for more than one word/phrase, a connector must be chosen from the drop down box to the left of the search word box (see below, Combining Search Criteria, for more information on connectors)
  • Unless very familiar with the database or the space program, it is best to avoid using strings of words. Combining words may give better results.
  • Broadening searches is recommended if complex searches yield no results.
  • If searching a word, or acronym, that may appear as part of another word, enter a space on either side of the search word. For example to search EVA (extravehicular activity), if spaces are not added to the acronym, other words not related to EVA will be found (evaluation, Nevada, retrieval, evaporate, etc.)
  • If searching for an acronym, search both the acronym and the definition (EVA or extravehicular activity) to be sure all records related to EVA are returned.
  • Truncations may be used if looking for variations of a word. Be careful if the truncation is too short. More records may be returned than are required. For example, 'feasib' will return 'feasible' and 'feasibility' but 'fe' will return dozens of words beginning with 'fe' (feature, fear) or containing 'fe' (effective, transfer, reference)
  • If search results are not satisfactory and simply need to be 'tweaked' as opposed to starting a new search, use the 'back' button on your browser, make desired changes to the search criteria and click on the 'execute search' button again
  • If no results are found using a particular search criteria, try broadening the search by using less words, less 'and' connectors or by using truncations

Combining Search Criteria
Drop down boxes to the left show connectors available for each search statement. Choices are and & or.

  • Using the 'and' connector means that search results must include both (or all) search words. It narrows the search.
  • Using the 'or' connector means that the search results must include one, the other or both search words. It broadens the search
  • These connectors are applied as they appear; there is no capability of grouping. For example, if entering Apollo and EVA or extravehicular, the results would include everything containing 'Apollo' and 'EVA' as well as everything with 'extravehicular,' whether 'Apollo' and 'EVA' appear in the title or not. This example would also include extravehicular in 'extravehicular activity' as well as in 'extravehicular mobility unit.' If, for example, the search results desired are for EVAs in Apollo, conduct two searches, one for 'Apollo and EVA' and a second for 'Apollo and extravehicular activity' (or 'Apollo and extravehicular and activity).
  • It is best to use only one connector with two or more search words/phrases per search (i.e., all ands or all ors)

Using Display Options
Display options are listed under Options Descriptions. Searches may be conducted using no options except the default options. All of the options on the search page determine how the search results page will look. If choosing particular display options and not liking how the results screen looks, choose the back button on the browser, change the options and hit the 'execute search' button again.

Search Results

Results Page Format

  • If search results are large and 'Max Rows' option on search page was changed to a small number, the search results will display in many separate pages. The top of the search page will state the status of pages in the format # - # of ### records found. If, for example, Max Rows was set at 10 and 25 records were returned, there will be three pages of returned records: 1-10 of 25; 11-20 of 25; 21-25 of 25
  • Any action buttons chosen from a Search Results page will only affect the page being currently displayed.
  • The first column in the Search results will contain the selection (Select) boxes. These are used to check (click with cursor over box or click on Select All button) records chosen for further action
  • Action buttons are displayed both at the top and bottom of the page.
  • At the very top of the page, in blue, are links to related history and help pages.

Options from Results Page
All options on the results page (with the exception of the links on the top of each search page) are chosen with the buttons. All of the buttons found on the search results page are described under Button Definitions. This section will give some pointers about using those options.

  • Before using either the 'Full Format' or 'Download Page' buttons, records must be selected by place the cursor over the 'Select' box of the record(s) desired and left clicking the mouse. Select boxes are immediately to the left of each record. If all records are to be selected, choose the 'Select All' button which automatically puts a check mark in each select box
  • Choosing Full Format allows the user to view all of the information on the database regarding selected records. This is helpful, since search results formats usually don't allow the complete record to appear and the user is interested in seeing fields not shown in the search results page.
  • The other 'select-required' button is 'Download Page.' The selected records that will appear on the download page can be either printed as is from the download page or the list of records can be copied and pasted into a spreadsheet or document. This is helpful if mailing a request for copies of documents found on the database or to bring when visiting the collection to use as a listing of documents to be viewed.
  • All button actions work only on the page being currently viewed. If several pages of results are returned by the database, the user will have to repeat actions desired on each page. To avoid this, use the back button on the browser and set 'Max Rows' to the number of records returned then execute the search again. All records returned will now be on one page. This one page may be very long and, if printed, may result in multiple pages of print.
  • The first four buttons (First, Previous, Next, Last) are all used to navigate among search results pages. If results appear on one page only, these buttons have no function.
  • The 'Reset' button removes all checks from previously selected records. If only some check marks are to be removed, this may be done manually. Clicking on a box that contains a check mark will remove the check mark also.
  • The 'Help' button launches a window containing several help pages for using the Archive database. It will open with information on the page currently being viewed. These pages are a summary of this document.
  • The 'New Search' button brings the user to a blank search page. This is used to begin a totally new search. If the current search just needs some minor adjustments, use the back button on the browser, make the changes necessary and execute the search again.

To Request a Document from the NASA JSC History Collection, contact the JSC History Collection Archivist.

If requesting documents found on the Archive database, the minimal amount of information needed to specify a particular document is shown on the standard output format. That is: series, subseries, folder title, location, box number and date for each document requested.

Are You in the Archives?

Description of the materials included in the JSC History Collection

JSC History Collection - Background

Information regarding the JSC materials housed at the National Archives and Records Administration

Information on accessing the materials in the JSC History Collection

History Search Index
History Search Index User Guide

Archive Search Index

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Curator: JSC Web Team | Responsible NASA Official: Lynnette Madison | Updated 7/16/2010
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