DigitalNC Search Instructions and Tips

Combined Search

DigitalNC is supported by two systems – one for newspapers and one for everything else. The combined search is a quick way to search both systems together. You can access the combined search at the top of most pages on, or by visiting this URL.

When you do a search, there will be three tabs on the results page.

Three tabs on a search result page.

  1. Digital content – all items EXCEPT newspapers
  2. Full-text newspapers – complete newspaper issues
  3. DigitalNC blog posts – results from our blog

The “Digital Content” search will only bring back EXACT matches. For example, Jane McGuire would bring back any items with that name, but would NOT bring back a portrait entitled “Jane Eccles McGuire.” Using Boolean operators (like “and” “or” “not”) will not work with this search. If you’d like to be more precise, we suggest searching the Digital Content system directly.

The “Full-text Newspapers” search uses an AND search. For example, Jane McGuire would bring back pages that have both Jane AND McGuire, but not necessarily as a phrase. If you’d like to be more precise, we suggest using the Newspapers system’s advanced search directly.

Full Text Toggle

Off and on toggle button with the title "Fulltext Search"When searching digital content (everything except newspapers) you’ll notice a “Fulltext search” toggle on the left or top of your screen, depending on your device. If this is off, the system only looks through the metadata (or added information) to each item’s record. If this is on, the system looks through the metadata AND the full text within an item. NOTE: Not all items have full text recognized – many handwritten items do not. In addition, computer recognition of full text can be full of errors based on the type of font and the condition of the original item.

Searching for Items from a Specific School, Everything Except Newspapers

Common items related to schools include yearbooks, catalogs, photographs, and event programs. If you are looking for any of these EXCEPT school newspapers, then we suggest entering the complete name of the school on the Digital Content search page. For example, if I’m looking for items from Carver High School in Winston-Salem, typing Carver High School will bring those back.

Search results screenshot for the term Carver High School

If your school name is a common one, like Carver High School, you can narrow down the search by location or format or date using the filters on the left. Alternatively you can narrow down the search to a specific item type as shown below, by changing your search terms.

Search results screenshot for the search Carver High School AND yearbooks

Searching for Newspapers from a Specific School

If you are looking for a school newspaper, then the easiest way will be to search on your school on the Newspapers page. You can search either by the school name or the newspaper title.

Advanced Searching for Power Users

DigitalNC is supported by two systems – one for newspapers and one for everything else. Each of those systems offers an advanced search.

Digital Content (everything except newspapers)

The Digital Content advanced search can be located at the top of any search results page by clicking “Advanced Search,” located below the search box.

Arrow pointing to Advanced search link on a search results page

The Advanced search allows you to focus on:

  • Searching by any word, all of your words, or various types of phrases. NOTE: “exact phrase” will look for a field that has ONLY that phrase in it. This makes it a very specific type of search. If you’re looking for a phrase search similar to searching with quotations, please use “partial phrase.”
  • Searching by a specific field, such as title, year, or format. This is helpful for searching during a specific time period (say the year 1940) or for searching for a specific format (such as yearbooks).
  • Added/modified dates allow you to search for items added to the system during a particular time period. NOTE: To narrow down your search to items published or created on a specific date, use the “searching by a specific field” and the year option.


The newspapers advanced search allows you to search by words or by phrases. You can also limit your results by year.

Using the “search words within 5/10 words of each other” option can help if you are looking for someone who might be listed with or without a middle name. For example, if you enter Jane McGuire in that box and then say “within 5 words of each other,” results will include Jane McGuire as well as Jane Eccles McGuire. It will also return a sentence that says “Jane worked for Mr. Robert McGuire.”

Towards the bottom of the page, you can narrow your search to specific titles. Select the title or titles you want on the left. If you’d like to choose more than one title, hold down the Shift button. Then choose the “Add to Search” button until you have all of the titles you’d like to search listed on the right. If you’re looking for all of the titles from a specific town, you can narrow the list down using the filter above the selection box, as shown below.

Newspaper advanced search screenshot with Wilmington typed into the filter

You can then use the “Select/Deselect All Visible Titles” link to quickly select them, and then Add to Search to move them to the Selected Titles side on the right.