The Archives Records Information Access System

How to best use ARIAS:


General Navigation

On each screen within the ARIAS a standard top menu bar is displayed which allows navigation at any time to the following:

PHMC Web Site — The home page for the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.

Contact Us — A mail feature to contact us with any comments or questions.

How To — Where you are now - General guidelines for using the system and accessing images.

ARIAS Menu — The menu for ARIAS which lists the archives available online and where you will select the archives series to view.

ARIAS Home — The ARIAS home page where an information overview concerning the content, both live and planned, of ARIAS is displayed.

Searching for Images
The images on line are indexed as they appear in the original card file. Not all images are indexed; in most cases every 50th image is indexed. Where the volume is low, every 25th image is indexed and where the volume is high, every 100th image is indexed. If the name is misspelled on the card, the misspelling is reflected in the index entry. If you do not immediately find the name you are researching, check all possible spellings of the name. Although these records are, for the most part, in alphabetical order we cannot guarantee that the original card file did not contain out-of-sequence cards.

The highest level of index is by the first letter; A-Z. The underlined letters contain images. When a letter is displayed in black with no underline, there are no images to view. (e.g., in the World War I example, "X" contains no images.)

The next index point is a set of images (25-100) with the first and last images of the set indexed. Some examples of set index points are:

  • Aaronson, Archie A. - Alexander, Irvin Smith
  • Kindt, Gustave George (back) - Knaefler, Raymond G.
  • Sheets, Lance Maynard (back) - Shor, Leon (letter)
  • Zabludoff, Philip - zur Horst, Walter F. (back)

When necessary, additional information is noted in parenthesis. When card files have a front and a back image, the front is always assumed. If the back of a card is an indexed image, it is noted as "(back)". If an indexed image is a form of correspondence, it is indicated with the designation "(letter)".

Viewing Images
If you are searching for an image, for example "Shoemaker", you would first select the "S" index. Within the "S" index, you would select "Sheets, Lance Maynard (back) - Shor, Leon (letter)", because "Shoemaker" would be found within this range. The items will be returned in the volume in which they were indexed. For instance, those indexed in groups of 100 will be displayed 1-100, those indexed in groups of 25 will be displayed as 1-25, etc. In this particular example, 1-50 images would now be available for you to browse.

CHANGE PAGE SIZE - Because of the increased time required to download greater quantities of images, you may wish to decrease the number of images to display at one time. This is easily accomplished by adjusting the number in the "Change Page Size" box. Selecting 50 will download all 50 at once. Selecting 10 will provide you with 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, and 41-50 items for selection. "Shoemaker" would be found closer to "Shor" (image 50) than "Sheets" (image 1) in the set. By selecting Change Page Size to 10, groups of images can be accessed much more quickly, especially on slower dial-up connections, than by immediately downloading all 50 images.

The original paper records were filmed. From this film, the images were digitized for presentation on the Web. The content, sequence and image quality among the records series will vary depending on how they were originally written/typed and subsequently filmed. Efforts were made to optimize the records for readabilty and presentation purposes for the Web.

Printing Images
Each individual image contains an image header. The image item number is displayed in the left corner and a Print box is displayed in the upper right corner. To select an image(s) to print, click on the print box(es) of the image(s) you wish to print. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the "Print Selected Cards" button.

A page will be returned which contains only the items you selected to print. You now have the option to click "Print this Page!" or return to the previous page to modify your selections. Note: When selecting "Print this Page!" the check box will be blank at this point; there is no need to re-check it to print. The print function should work properly in most modern browsers. Some older browsers may not support this functionality. If that is the case, please use your browser's built-in print capability.

For further information about the site and future priorities for making original records available, contact the Pennsylvania State Archives ARIAS Team.

Explore Historical Records through ARIAS!