Use the PAS Database
Using the search engine on the PAS database is daunting for some - these pages will show you its do-able and also how to do it!
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Using PAS database PAS Advanced Search PAS Quick Search
Using PAS database
From the Portable Antiquities blog by Dan Pett.
I believe the best thing for you to do is register with the database. This opens up some of the more useful features to you. To do this, visit: http://www.findsdatabase.org.uk/hms/registration.php Fill in your details, and then by return email, you will be activated. This email expires after 24 hours, so if it doesn’t arrive, check your spam box. Once activated, you can now access the following:
1. Save your searches (either for reuse on the system each time you visit, or as an RSS feed that you can use as an alert system – this needs some special feed reading software, or for reuse in your own website – see the home page of this website http://www.ourpasthistory.com)
2. Change preferences, such as viewing thumbnails in search lists, changing the number of thumbnails that you can view, changing the number of records per page.
3. Enable tracking of your experience. I can see what people want to search upon and therefore identify problems. You cannot be identified by name as it just logs searches by auto-registered groups. Once registered, you might need some help searching the database to get the best out of it.
There are 3 main areas for searching the database:
• Quick search – via the box in the header or the single search box from the search menu. click here for instructions on how to use
• Advanced search – most popular across all user groups and requires a modicum of effort to construct a search. click here for instructions on how to use
• Image search – perhaps most useful for quick searching for visual recognition.
The fourth type of search – “visual” – is to become obsolete soon as so few people use it. The quick search box in the header is limited on the fields that can be searched within the database. These fields are: • Object type – for example coin, brooch, axe
• Period – for example Roman, Early Medieval
• Ascribed culture – this is only used for Early Medieval objects
How do I search the image bank?
This is very simple and requires very little input to gain lots of output. However, it is hampered by the labelling terms entered by our recorders. To find coins of Trajan, enter Trajan in the filter box and press filter as shown below. You can then scroll through pages of anything attributed to Trajan. More often than not, you’ll get mostly coins back for that particular search.
How do I use RSS feeds?
These are perhaps the most powerful feature of the database and also the most underused feature. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it is a way for one to share content easily. You need to download some software (see http://www.finds.org.uk/news/rss.php for more information) and then create and save a search as an RSS feed. I currently use some software called “Feedreader”, simple and easy to install from http://www.feedreader.com. Once you save the search as an RSS feed you can paste the address you are presented with into your feed reader. Every time a new find that meets your search criteria is added to the database, the software alerts you to its existence. Lazy man’s surfing! If you don’t fancy creating your own feeds, try some of the ones that I have already created. You can also get RSS feeds from a whole range of other sites, for example the BBC, Google’s news pages and many more. The other advantage of RSS, is that these feeds can be reused in your own website. If you want to do this, email me at the British Museum for more details. It could invigorate your web site with finds for your parish, county or even your own finds!
How are these data used?
These data that we collect are used all over the globe by archaeologists and the layman. Example projects include: 1. English Heritage funded Night-hawking study conducted by Oxford Archaeology 2. VASLE based at the University of York (AHRC) 3. The Tribal Hidage project at University College London (Leverhulme) 4. AHRC funding for 3 PhDs in 2006-2007 5. Over 50 individuals completing research for higher level degrees worldwide (Japan, Australia, USA and of course the United Kingdom)
Can I get more help?
Yes of course! Speak to your FLO or call the Central Unit on 0207 323 8611 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t forget to register! You’ll get more from the database!
PAS Advanced Search How do I make an advanced search actually work?
Well this is a frequently asked question, and quite simple to answer. With the current interface you need to do the following as shown in the examples below. Before you begin, determine what you would like to retrieve. One caveat that has to be remembered; we don’t pluralise objects types. We record everything in the singular; therefore coins are incorrect – coin is correct. Brooches are incorrect; brooch is correct.
Let’s do a search for Roman coins from Lincolnshire recorded by Adam Daubney our Midlands rock star. Step 1: choose object type is exactly coin and then press the more button. Choose AND as the operator term. Step 2: choose county is exactly Lincolnshire and then press the more button. Choose AND as the operator term. Step 3: choose broadperiod is exactly ROMAN and then press the more button. Choose AND as the operator term. Step 4: choose created by is exactly adaubney. Now press search.
This returns results as follows:
This will allow you to find all records that meet these search terms. If you have registered and logged in, you could save this search and access this from the saved search menu every time you login to the site. Another hint to save you getting page expired message is this: right click on a link and open in a new window. To save the search click on the save icon - this will trigger a pop up window as shown here:
Here I have created a new search with the title of advanced search results - I have also requested that the results are made available to me as RSS feed - and also for PAS to email me about new finds which match this search criteria. Click on the save button!
The following text now appears in the pop up window:
This tells me that my search have been saved. I can either retrieve it by using the Search > Saved Search option on the left hand menu option, by waiting the emails to arrive from PAS - or by my favourite option which is using the RSS feeds. I click on the live link on the save search pop up window and the following appears on my screen:
I click on ok and this RSS feed now shows on my toolbar - all I need to do to see new items added is hover my mouse on the bookmark as shown - any new finds are added to the top of the list - click on the one you want and it opens the database at that page
When the new advanced search facility launches, the above steps should be rendered obsolete, as the steps will be far more obvious.
PAS Quick Search
Quick search – via the box in the header or the single search box from the search menu. If you use the quick search menu option, check the radio button for which type of object you want to search for. For example if you check coins, then you could enter the ruler’s name and get back all coins for Trajan.
this will bring back result which look like this: