We aim to answer common questions here. If you are a Librarian, please see the dedicated section for tailored help and FAQs.

What is synonym search?

Synonym search is enabled on the platform by default, this means entering a search term will automatically retrieve variants of that term. For example, a search for "USSR" with synonym search enabled will return results for "Soviet Union" and "Russia". To search for a specific term only, deselect the synonym search on the quick search and advanced search. 

What is stem searching?

Stem searching is the comparison of a query to the root form of a word used in the query. For example, a user may search for the term ‘calmer’, but a search engine that uses stemming technology may return search results for any word that contains the root form of the word (e.g. calm, calmed, calmer).

Is phrase searching enabled?

Phrase searching is supported on this platform. To complete a phrase search encapsulate the term in quotation marks, for example "Soviet Union".

What are keywords in context?

Selecting the Keywords in Context button will display the five most relevant hits within an excerpt of a document. In the excerpt your search term will be highlighted so that you can quickly determine if the result is from a page you want to visit. Selecting View will open the image viewer with your search term highlighted on the page. You can move to the next or previous page in the document where your search term is highlighted by selecting Next Hit/Previous Hit.

What does “source file is missing” mean?

If you see the message "source file is missing" in the image viewer, this refers to the fact that certain pages could not be digitized due to the fragile nature of the documents and files. A decision, however, was taken by the Editors, that the value of the overall document was such that it would be detrimental to remove it from the collection.

Citation style

When citing source documents from Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War please use the reference style appropriate to the journal to which you are submitting your article (usually to be found in the Instructions to Authors) but add “from Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War”, the document URL that appears at the top of the document screen, and the date and time of access.

Why do certain documents take longer to download?

The nature of the content is such that some of the documents are extremely large; consequently the pdfs may take some time to download. The size of the PDF file is displayed on the site. We would recommend in those instances where the pdf is large that you either download only the relevant sections or use the download a range of pages option in the image viewer.

Note that if your browser settings are set to prevent automatic downloads, you will need to change your browser options.

Why can’t I download a document?

Your institution may have access via a free trial, in which case you will be unable to download documents. You will, however, be able to view the documents using the image viewer.

How do I save searches?

Put a search query into Quick Search or click on the Advanced Search tab and enter your search criteria. Click on the Save Search button at the top of the search results page (you will be prompted to log in/register if you have not already done so). Enter a name for the search and click on the Save Search button. At this point you will be redirected to the Saved Search Area where you have the option to run the saved search again or create new search.

Why can’t I save searches?

Your institution may have access via a free trial, in which case you will be unable to save searches.

How do I manage saved searches?

Sign in with your username and password and go to My Account. Click the Saved Searches button. Here you can run your search directly, delete your saved searches, and create new searches.

How do I add documents/sections to My Archive?

You can select to add documents/sections to My Archive from; Explore Content, Search Results, Image Viewer and content pages (list of issues, table of contents, chapter/article/section).

Why can’t I add documents/sections to My Archive?

Your institution may have access via a free trial, in which case you will be unable to add documents/sections to My Archive.

How do I manage My Archive?

Sign in with your username and password and go to My Account. Click the Manage My Archive button. Here you can view the document(s)/section(s) added, download a list of document/section titles (including hyperlinks) to create a reading list, and delete your documents/sections.

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