How to get the most out of the Archive

The digital Archive of Market and Social Research is hosted by OCLC (the Online Computer Library Center), which provides more advanced search and storage facilities than can be delivered directly through the AMSR’s portal site, where you are reading this page. When you click on the ‘Access the Archive’ button at the top of this page, you are automatically transferred to the OCLC-hosted home of the Archive (see screenshot).

This page provides some outline guidance for users and we recommend that those new to the Archive read the following before ‘diving in’! The Archive is growing all the time and along with OCLC, we are constantly striving to improve the user experience.

The AMSR archive is divided into a number of groups, called `collections’. When you first enter the website you will see these listed, with a brief description of what they contain. Click on any one, e.g. `Books’, to take you to the detail pages for that collection.

Collections are defined by the type of document they contain (books, papers, reports etc.) rather than by subject (since most items in the archive span a range of subjects). When we have a clearly recognisable group or series, such as the MRS newsletter or the MORI British Public Opinion series, that can be a separate collection.

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Searching the whole Archive

The first page you come to when you open the archive (the Home Page) lists all the collections. The search box at the top right-hand corner of the page enables you to enter a search term and search across the whole archive. Alternatively, you can select a collection and search within that.

Searching within a collection

Take `Books’ as an example of a collection page.

Sorting. Each collection can be sorted or filtered by appropriate variables. At the top of the page, the `Sort by:’ box enables you to sort the collection according to title, author, publisher or publication date, either in ascending or in descending order, however large the collection.

Display. The two buttons to the right of the `Sort by’ box enable you to choose whether to display the items in list view or as a grid. Further to the right is a box where you can choose how many items to show on each separate page.

Filtering. On the left hand side of the collection page you will see variables listed under `Author(s)’, `Title’, `Date’ and `Publisher’. These can by used for multi-level filtering. For example, if you click on `Everitt, Brian’ under `Author(s), the page will show the books authored by him. Now click on `Springer’ under `Publishers’ and you will see just those of Everitt’s  books which were  published by Springer. Both filters will now appear at the top of the page. Cancel `Everitt’ and all the Springer books in the collection will now be seen. Click on a date (e.g. 2008) and you will see only those Springer books from that year.

Note that the filters are ordered by frequency of occurrence: it is not possible to order them differently, e.g. alphabetically, although we understand that OCLC are working on adjustments to their system which may make this possible in future. Some of the filters shown may not be complete lists, so caution is needed if using this function.

The variables available for sorting or filtering vary by collection, depending on the search variables appropriate for the type of document. All collections can be sorted by title and by date (year).

To migrate immediately to another collection, go to the `collections’ box at top left, cancel `Books’ and select the one you want and click `Update’. Alternatively, click on the AMSR icon at the top of the page: this will take you back to the Home Page.

Navigating, printing and downloading

When a document has been selected, the page shows the front page and, to the right, thumbnails of each scanned page. To select these, either click directly on the page required, or use the arrows to right and left of the selected page to flip pages forward and back. See `readability’ below for ways to make a selected page easier to read.

Just above the thumbnails on the right are two buttons which allow you to either download the item to your own computer or print a copy. Each of these allows you to choose whether to download/print the whole scanned document or just the page you have selected.

Word searching

In addition to sorting and filtering within collections, word searching is possible. Example: in the box at the top of the `Books’ page, enter `questionnaire design’. You will now see those exact pages from each book where those words appear. They are highlighted in the text summary below and/or on the relevant page. To read this, expand the page by clicking the double arrow at the top right corner. If the words `questionnaire’ and `design’ appear there you will see them highlighted.

Word searching is available not only within collections but across all or any subset of collections – just search from the front page or, within a collection page, select what you need to change to and click `update’.

Advanced searching

For more complex syntax, click `Advanced search’ under the search box (top right). This takes you to a new page where you can refine your search requirements. At the top, you need to select the collection you wish to search: it is essential to save this selection in the click box provided. Next, enter the search term. Normally you would leave the box above as `all fields’ although you can specify particular fields for your search such as title, publisher or date. On the right, you can specify alternative formats for the search term: all the words, any of the words, the exact phrase or none of the words. Click `Add row’ and you can add another search term as well as or instead of (`and/or’) the first one: this can be repeated up to three times.

As with `ordinary’ word searching, the exact pages will be shown, and you can see the words highlighted when you expand the page by clicking the top-right arrow.

It is also possible to select by dates (years). Under `Enter date’ in `Advanced search’, you can select items within a collection published on, before or after a specified date or between dates. Years must be entered in all four digits: YYYY, or by year and month: YYYY-MM

In `Advanced search’, if you are working within one collection, such a Books, the drop down box under `Enter search term’ will list the variables appropriate to that collection only and the system proceeds smoothly as above. Unfortunately, this does not work if you have selected more than one collection or `all’: in this case the drop down box produces a standardised list (OCLC’s `Dublin Core’) which does not relate to the variables we are using (although some of them will match, such as `title’). So, for the present anyway, you are advised to leave that box as `all fields’, if searching across collections.

To change the collection you are searching, remember to deselect the old one as well as selecting the new one. If you do not, the programme will attempt to show both collections, and the problem described in the above paragraph will occur.


When you click the double arrow to expand a page, it opens up a number of other functions across the top of the expanded page to improve your reading experience, including zoom (in and out), full screen size, print button, download button. Click the double arrows on the right and you can rotate clockwise or anticlockwise.

Your feedback

As we have commented above, the Archive is growing all the time. We hope you find it valuable, but should you encounter any difficulties in using this resource, we’d be very grateful if you could let us know through the contact page on this website. We’ll do our best to address any such issues in future developments.

We also welcome your feedback on the current filters shown for each collection, so we will keep improving them. Thank you.

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