Suffolk/Moakley Archives Research Tool (SMART) Search Tips

The Suffolk/Moakley Archives Research Tool (SMART) is an online catalog that allows users to search archival records. Search results are lists of records in the collection; to see only digitized material add "AND digitized" to search term.

Steps for searching the SMART catalog

Types of Searches

Refining Searches

Recommended Searches

Understanding Search Results


Steps for searching the SMART catalog:

  1. Determine what collection(s) you would like to search
    • “Global”: to search across all collections
    • “University Records”: to search Suffolk University's records
    • “Special Collections”: to search all manuscript collections and oral histories
  2. Select a search type.
    • Advanced
    • Browse Collection
    • Browse Topics
    • Keyword (basic)
  3. Search. (Use tips on refining searches if necessary.)
  4. Using search results:
    • Click on folder icon to see more detailed information on:
      • 1. Where that record is in relation to other records.
        2. The list of folders within that collection or series.
    • Print record.
    • Use printed record to identify materials at the Archives.
  5. back to top

Types of Searches:

  • Advanced- search across multiple fields using the following options:
    • Level of detail- Select: Collection level (least detailed) to Item level (highly detailed)
    • Display options- Select how many records display at a time.
    • Limit by field- Select the field you want to search.
  • Browse Collection- Provides a comprehensive list of collections in the catalog; click the “Details” button for more information.
  • Browse Topics- Browse the following categories (Used for some records at the collection and series level):
    • Names- Example: Moakley, John Joseph, or Archer Gleason L.
    • Topic terms- Example: United States. Congress or Radio History.
    • Geographic terms- Example: Boston (Mass) or Great Pond (Me.)
    • Categories- Search by “type” of material, available at the file and item level only. Example: Architectural drawings, objects, maps, video recordings, etc.
  • Keyword (basic)- Any type of term (name, subject, title, etc.) found in any field of a catalog record.
  • back to top

Refining Searches:

  • Truncation- Use * to truncate and search varying forms of a word. Example:
    • Transport* will search transport, transporting, transportation, etc.
  • Boolean searches- Use AND, OR, NOT, quotation marks “” and ( ) to narrow or broaden your search. Examples:
    • "capital punishment" and "minorities" [narrows search to records having both terms]
    • "political ethics" or "misconduct in office" [broadens search to records having either term]
    • "hunting" not "license" [narrows search to records having the first term but not the second]
    • ("folk music" or "gospel") and "dance" [retrieves records with either of the parenthetical terms and the term outside the parentheses]
  • Date Ranges- Use "to" between the beginning and ending dates. Example: 1995 to 2000, not, 1995-2000.
  • Title- The name of a collection, series, container, file folder, or item.
  • Creator- Agency or organization that created or received and maintained a series or collection.
  • Personal name- Name of an individual or family.
  • Corporate/conference name- Name of a group or organization.
  • Topic- Subject areas covered by the record, found in the topic fields of the catalog record.
  • Geographic- Name of a geographical area, location.
  • back to top

Recommended Searches:

  • Browse Collection or Series- To see a list of everything in the catalog browse by collection or series. The details button gives you what information is available.
  • Truncation- Increases the effectiveness of a search by searching all forms of a word. Example: A search for “newspaper” will not retrieve records with the word “newspapers,” therefore you must search for both, or use truncation.
  • Digitized Images- To see only digitized materials, enter “Digitized Image” or “Digitized Images.” Or in an advanced search choose the "assoc material" field and enter "digitized".
  • Date ranges - Use “to” to retrieve records within a range of dates. Example: 1995 to 2003 will return all records in that range; 1995-2003 will not.
  • Browse Topics- Enter each individual directory, either the University Archives or the Moakley Papers to browse lists of topics, names and locations in our collections. Reviewing any of the drop down menu options, except category, at the global search will not retrieve a comprehensive list of topics.
  • back to top

Understanding search results:

  • Folder icons: display related folders (i.e. where that folder is in relation to other folders).
  • Descriptive information: about your results is always available by clicking the blue (or purple) link to the folder, series or collection.
  • Letters and numbers before title information: EX SUG/001.001-015 or MS100/09.03#011. The number and letter combination in before the / (backslash) is the collection number (SUG or MS100). The set of number immediately after the / (backslash) and before the . (period) is the series number (001 or 09). The set of numbers immediately after the . (period) is the sub-series number (.001 or .03). Numbers after a hyphen (-) are folder numbers (015), and numbers after # (number sign) are item numbers.


  • Record: a search result; a folder; an item
  • File: a folder of documents
  • Collection: group of records created or used by a person or an organization.
  • Series: group of records that have the same or similar function, form or purpose.
  • Finding Aids: detailed description of an archival collection. Describes how the collection is organized and what information is available to researchers.
  • back to top