The images of the original newspaper pages have been subjected to a process called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) which creates the electronic text in a searchable format. Although OCR makes it possible to search large quantities of full text information it is not 100% accurate. The accuracy depends on a variety of factors: condition of the original newspaper or microfilm, quality of the paper, size and style of the font and column layouts, for example.
You can search for articles in two ways: a Quick Search or an Advanced Search, which offers additional search options.
QUICK SEARCH: A simple “Google” type Search box is present on the home page; simply enter your keyword(s) or search term into the search box. The range of publication dates to search can be chosen from the drop-down menus. You will be presented with a list of search results from which you can select a record to view by clicking on Preview; the page containing the keywords you entered will be displayed in a pdf viewer. Alternatively, use the Browse button to open the page; adjacent pages/issues can then be selected from the thumb-nails displayed.
ADVANCED SEARCH. An additional Advanced Search form combines several powerful options to help refine your search. These include options to search for a specific phrase, to search for a combination of keywords, and an option to exclude specific words. The publication dates to search can be chosen from the drop-down menus. Read the Search Tips for more detailed advice on searching.
BROWSING: The Browse method allows a particular issue of the Teesdale Mercury to be found. The Browse function can be found in the sub-menu by hovering over TM Archive in the main menu. Use the drop-down menus to choose the date of the issue you require. When the thumb-nails are displayed, click on any one to view the newspaper for the chosen week. A new page will open displaying the front page of the weekly issue in a pdf viewer and a panel from which a particular page may be chosen. Magnification of the text is achieved using the pdf viewer tools in the tool bar. To move to the next or previous issue of the Mercury use the arrow buttons located at the top of the left-hand panel.
Because the OCR process is not 100% accurate, occurrences of the keywords that you may be expecting (for example, a record of a birth in a particular year) may not be displayed. Try revising your keywords to others that might be expected to be present in the article or report. Another tip is to keep the number of keywords, or search term, to a minimum in order to increase the likelyhood of the words/phrase being found when the OCR is less than 100% accurate.
An advanced search offers a more comprehensive and detailed set of search options. Fill in as few or as many of the following options:
- All of these words: all search terms entered in this box will be searched for.
- This exact Wording or phrase: any of the search terms entered will be searched for.
- One or more of these words: a combination of the terms will be search
- Any of these unwanted words: excludes these terms from your search.
- Date range: Select appropriate years from the drop-down menu.
To clear your search form and start again, click the ‘Clear Search’ button.
Searching for Words That Are Hyphenated or Contain Punctuation
Hyphens: To search for hyphenated names or phrases, remove the hyphen from the name and try to combine both words, e.g rather than Middleton-in-Teesdale try Middleton Teesdale. You can also search for the name as a phrase – just replace the hyphen with a space, e.g. Middleton in Teesdale. This will ensure you get results where the electronically translated text has not recognised the hyphen.
Punctuation: To search for names or phrases that include punctuation, remove the punctuation from the name to make it all one word, e.g. Grains o th beck rather than Grains o’ th’ Beck. You can also try searching with a space where the punctuation would normally appear, e.g. Grains o th Beck, or simply search for Grains Beck.