Collection Search (BETA) Help

Collection SearchBETA functionalities

Collection SearchBETA allows you to perform searches throughout the various databases of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). You can search the entire collection, or limit your search using the tabs and left-hand menu options.

It is important to note that the Collection SearchBETA is currently for simple keyword searches, and does not have boolean search capability.

New options on the search results page

  1. It is now possible to refine your search using the tabs across the top of the results page or the filters available in the left-hand menu
  2. You can order your results by relevance, title (A-Z / Z-A) or date (ascending or descending)
  3. It is now possible to adjust the number of results displayed on your results page (10, 25, 50 or 100 results)
  4. You can download a document with your search results with up to 1000 results in the following formats : HTML, PDF, CSV, XML, JSON (see the download icon at the top right corner of the results page)
  5. You can print your search results( see the print icon at the top right corner of the results page )
  6. Search results with one or many digital images will present these images in a carrousel just above the title of the record. You can click on them to preview them right from the search results page, or click the title to navigate to the record itself
  7. Audio-visual items from our collection that are published on the LAC YouTube page will now have the YouTube link connected to the item in Collection SearchBETA
  8. Navigation between the pages of your search results is now optimized to improve access to more results.
  9. You can now use our new image viewer to consult our digitized material. Not only can you deep zoom the images, but you can also access the Co-Lab content directly from this viewer. Note: If the image does not display with zoom functionality, try closing the viewer, wait a moment, and then reopen the image.

Search results tabs

“Archives” tab

The “Archives” tab allows you to refine your search to see only archival documents in the LAC collection. LAC has millions of textual, photographic, audio-visual, cartographic, and architectural records, among others. These documents are structured into fonds, collections (which are then sub-divided into sous-fonds, series, sub-series, sub-sub-series, files and items), and acquisitions, reflecting the activities and functions of a person, a family or an organization.

What is included under the “Archives” tab?

These archival research resources can be found under the “Archives” tab:

  • Government of Canada records
  • Métis certificates
  • First World War diaries
  • Prime Ministers’ papers

What is not included under the “Archives” tab?

Certain individual databases are not yet integrated into the Collection SearchBETA. To access archival resources that still need be researched individually, consult our databases.

“Genealogy” tab

The “Genealogy” tab allows you to you the specialized tools at LAC to facilitate access to genealogical information in our collection. Many documents at LAC are indexed by name, and this tab will help you access genealogical data.

Genealogical research consists of exploring many types of documents. Our data is organized by topic to improve access. Under Genealogy, using the left-hand menu, you will find broad genealogical categories and further options to refine within them. The categories most consulted, among others, include:

  • Military
  • Census Records
  • Immigration
  • Land Records
  • Etc.

Visit our Topics page to see a complete list of research topics available at LAC.

Certain individual databases are not yet integrated into the Collection SearchBETA. To access archival resources that still need be researched individually, consult our databases.

For more detailed information on genealogical research, consult Genealogy and Family History.

“Library” tab

The “Library” tab allows you to do research on the published material held at LAC.

What is included under the “Library” tab?

The “Library” tab contains records of books, periodicals, journals, official publication, theses, sound recordings, maps and electronic articles, as well as documents in braille and in large-print.

“Co-Lab” tab

The “Co-Lab” tab allows you to search within contributions provided by the public to digitized images in LAC’s collection. Types of contribution include:

  1. Transcription
  2. Translation
  3. Tags
  4. Description

When searching in the “Co-Lab” tab, the list of results generated with the keywords used will depend on their presence in the section contributed by other users.

Within the result page, you will see a portion of the contributed content below the image carrousel. To see the remaining information, click the image in the carrousel. In our new viewer, you will have access to the full information. To add to the contribution, click on the “Edit or contribute using Co-Lab” button at the bottom left of the viewer. You will then go to the Co-Lab website.

Please consult About Co-Lab for more information on this brand-new tool.

“Images” tab

The “Images” tab  allows you to search for digitized images in the archival collection at LAC. Each search result will present as a thumbnail.

How to perform an Image search:

  1. Enter one or more key words in the search box
  2. Select the “Images” option from the dropdown menu
  3. Click the “Submit” button

How to view your results:

The results are presented in a mosaic on the screen. When you click on an image, you will see the following elements:

  • A larger preview image in our new viewer with a deep zoom option. If the image does not display with zoom functionality, try closing the previewer, wait a moment, and then reopen the image.
  • A menu bar containing the following options: “link to the record”, “Printable version” and “Download a copy”.
  • Access to the Co-Lab content of the image. If there are no contributions from the public yet, you can start contributing by clicking the “Edit or contribute using Co-Lab” option. If Co-Lab has not yet been enabled for the image, you can enable it by clicking the “Enable this image for Co-Lab contributions” option.
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