Browsing and Searching
All the options described below are accessible from the searchbar on the left (link for mobiles here). The searchbar is also displayed on every page of the diary. Click on an item to find out more:—
- Free Search — enter any search term in the box in the sidebar, and click on the Search button
- Wordlist Search — choose a search term from a list of ‘significant’ words in the diary, and click on the Search button
- Diary Topics Search — choose a topic from the list, and click on the Search button
All types of search take you to the Search Results Page.
Browsing the Diary
You can start reading from the Beginning of the Diary in January 1940; to go to the next page, click on an arrow at top or bottom of each page (< or >).
To start at a particular date – click on a month in the Browse by Date box near the bottom of the sidebar (link for mobiles here). Excerpts from the pages for that month will be displayed – click on a page number to display a full page.
Write your own search term in the Search Box in the sidebar (link for mobiles here), and click on the Search button. The Search Results page will be displayed. To search for a phrase, enclose it in double quotes. Some more complex searches are also available.
Like most diaries, the diary includes so many different subjects that it can be difficult to guess what is worth searching for. A list of significant words actually found in the diary has therefore been provided in the sidebar (link for mobiles here), divided into sections by initial letter.
To search for e.g. camouflage:
- select C from the Choose initial letter drop-down list in the sidebar (link for mobiles here)
- select camouflage from the list below it, headed C Choices (if you want to speed things up, you can type the first few letters of the word, such as cam, and the cursor will jump to words beginning with those letters). The word will appear in the Search Box (if the cursor does not also appear in the box, click on the box to put it there!)
- click on the Search button to perform the search. The Search Results page will be displayed.
Note that searching for nouns also retrieves plurals, verbs retrieve other forms of the verb, and adjectives retrieve related adverbs (if any are found in the text).
The Wordlist also contains names of people who are important either because they occur frequently or were otherwise important to the author, or because they are historically significant. Titles of books, films and pieces of music are also included.
Diary Topics Search
A drop-down list of broad topics that are touched on in the diary has been provided in the sidebar (link for mobiles here). The topics are also displayed in table format here. When you choose a topic from the list, the system searches not for a word, but for a code – each paragraph has codes at its end indicating which topics are included in it. You do not need to know what these codes are, and they are not normally visible.
- Click on a topic in the topics list to search for paragraphs in the diary which include that topic – the topic will appear in the Search Box (if the cursor does not also appear in the General Search box, click on the box to put it there!)
- Click on the Search button to search for the topic. The Search Results page will be displayed.
For example, suppose you want to find pages which mention evacuees staying with the Ryles in Sussex. Searching for the topic Evacuation retrieves pages which have the code zev (all codes begin with a z) at the end of one or more paragraphs. This works better than searching for e.g. the word evacuee, because sometimes the names of evacuees are mentioned (e.g. Lorna, George) without indicating that they are in fact evacuees.
Search Results Page
When you perform a search, the Search Results page is displayed, which lists one excerpt from every page that contains the search term (or code, in the case of Topics) with the term or code highlighted in red. The number of hits on that page is indicated at the end of the excerpt (but a phrase search causes each word in each retrieved phrase being counted as a hit).
Click on Full page » below the excerpt to display that page; all the hits on the page will be highlighted in red (in the case of topics, irrelevant codes are hidden from view).
To get back to the Search Results page, click on the Go Back button on the sidebar (or on the equivalent Browser button). If you are using the Wordlist search, you may find it helpful that when you click on the Go Back button, the Wordlist will still display the point you were at when you performed your last search.
More complex searches
You can search for a word that appears on the same page as another word, or does not do so. For example, type +school +debate in the search box to search for pages that include both these words (though they will not always refer to school debates, if they are in different paragraphs!). Or search for +debate –school (the words can be in any order) to retrieve pages that include the word debate but not the word school (e.g. if you are looking for references to Parliamentary debates). If you want to search for pages that contain either the word school, or the word debate, just type these words in the box with a space in between. These three searches retrieve 9, 7 and 89 pages respectively!