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Oregon Index Online: a Guide

An introduction to Oregon Index Online - Searching, Background and more

  

 

The online version of the Oregon Index is available on the State Library’s Digital Collections.

There are links for the Biography and Subject portions of the index that can be accessed and searched separately.

Oregon Index Online consists of hundreds of thousands of cards grouped together online by the drawers that contain the original index. Searching a large number of cards can be challenging. Two methods - browse and keyword - are described. Try both and see which one works best for you.

General use tips:

  • try more than one search term or phrase for your topic - terminology may have changed over time (some cards are over 100 years old!)
  • the OCR (automated conversion from type to online text) is not perfect - double-check using the browse feature to make sure the name or subject you are looking for is not there

 

Step 1: Go to the main page of the Biography or Subject portion of the Oregon Index.

Step 2:  Use the Browse navigation options near the top of the page to move forward through the alphabet. Names/numbers of the virtual catalog drawers indicate the name or subject heading at the beginning of each drawer.

 

 

For example, to find Biography entries for children’s author Beverly Cleary, move forward through the list of drawers until you find the drawer that will contain “Cleary”. (Personal names are inverted.) Click on the picture of that drawer.

 

    

 

Step 3: Now choose from the sub-sections of the drawer the sub-section containing Cleary.

    

 

Step 4:  You will be in the card image browser. Use the finger-point icon (left) or the navigation arrows (right) to move through the “drawer” of cards until you get the index cards for “Cleary, Beverly”.

 

    

 

Be sure to navigate through the entire group of cards with the name heading “Cleary, Beverly”.

 

     

 

See the next section, “How Do I Interpret Oregon Index Cards”, to understand the formatting and abbreviations used on the cards.

Step 1: Go to the main page of the Biography or Subject portion of the Oregon Index.

Step 2: Type your search in the green “Search this Collection” box at middle right side of the page. (Not the “search all collections” box at the top of the page!)

    

Keyword Search tips:

For phrases use quote marks: 

     “willamette river”

Combine multiple keyword terms with “and”:

     “willamette river” and flood

For personal names, try inverting the name/title with a phrase search:

     “lane joseph” ;  “joseph chief”

Additional notes:

  • Keyword searches find terms anywhere the index card including the subject line of the card, the article title, author or source title
  • Less common search terms work better than common terms.
  • Try more than one keyword for the same subject – headings are not always consistent throughout the index
  • Subject headings may also be sub-divided by city or by county – check the entire section of cards under the subject heading
  • Conversion from card images to machine readable text (OCR) is not perfect; searches may not find every card that includes a keyword 

Step 3: From the results list, click on the card image on the list to go to that card. Note that the “book title” refers to name of that group of index cards, not the title of an item on a specific index card.

    

Step 4: After clicking on the icon, you will see the index card you selected with matching search terms highlighted. Along the bottom will be a series of yellow pins locating every card with at least one matching term. Click on the pin to jump to that card.

    

(Note: not all search terms you entered will be on every card. You can use the “search inside” box to focus on specific terms in that index card group.)

    

Use the navigation icons at the lower left to more forward and back through the "stack" of index cards, enlarge/shrink the size or change view options.

See the next section, “How Do I Interpret Oregon Index Cards”, to understand the formatting and abbreviations used on the cards.

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