• User Guide and Troubleshooting

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Display Tools Below the Header

Search Bar:

Underneath the header is a rectangular search bar with which you can search single words or group phrases in quotations (“word word word”) in order to find posts that contain them. This is a full-text search, so it will also look throughout the information recorded for each item and not simply the title.

Sort By:

The default presentation of items is in chronological order, from oldest to newest. If you wish to sort items in a different order, such as their archival order, select “Archival Address”, or to see the most recently uploaded items, select “Creation Date” from the drop-down menu. Clicking the arrow with lines will invert the display order.


There are several options for how to present the items to you. The default view is “List” which displays a thumbnail of the image, with its key descriptive information beside it. If you would like to view more information and the full image, please click anywhere in the box containing each item. If you don’t see everything you expect to see in the thumbnail, it can be found in the item’s individual page with the full image.

Click on the Visualization icon (rectangle) to select between the layout and types of information you would prefer to see in your search results. Some are highly visual, and some are more information-heavy.

Filter Tools in the Left Column

The filters to the left side of the screen can be used to view specific subsets of items in the Collections. By clicking the boxes next to selected options, the main body of the screen will display items that match the qualities selected in the filter section. You can make multiple selections in order to view the subset of items that you are interested in. Do not forget to scroll to the top of the page and click on “Clear Filters” when you finish with a search so that you can select new options for your next search!

Some Examples:

  • To view graduation photographs from the 1970s, navigate to the Sub-Collection heading and select “Graduation Ceremonies.” Then scroll down to the Decade heading and select the decade “1970-1979.”
  • To view the activities of nursing students during the 1930s, navigate to the Sub-Collection heading and select “Classes and Student Activities.” Then scroll down to the Decade heading and select the decade “1930-1939.”
  • To view student and class pins in the Collections, scroll down to the Format heading and select “metal pin.”


The items in the Collections are organized according to the sub-collection they were placed in during their archival processing into the VGHSONAA Collections. There are seven sub-collections that contain photographic materials:

  • Building Society (BS): The activities of the VGHSONAA Building Society, which operated from 1961 until 2003 and served Alumnae by operating a residence, the Alumnae Manor, in which retired nurses could find economical housing.
  • Classes and Student Activities (CSA): Primarily contains the activities of students while studying at VGH School of Nursing, and documents changes in uniform over time.
  • Graduation Ceremonies (GC): Contains photographs relating to graduating classes of nurses from VGH School of Nursing.
    • If you are looking for your graduation photo and it is not present in this section, the VGHSONAA may not have it digitized at present, or it may be located in another section—try search terms like “graduation” and “commencement” in the top search bar, or considering donating a copy of a photograph!
  • Historic Photographs (HP): A miscellany of materials documenting the history of the School of Nursing, its buildings, and operations over the past century.
  • Miscellaneous and Personae Recognition (MPR): Primarily consists of photographs of individuals who have had important relevance to the School of Nursing.
  • Nursing Alumnae Functions (NAF): Activities of the VGHSONAA and its members post-graduation.
  • Reunion Photos (RP): Documentation of reunion activities of past VGH School of Nursing classes over the years.

There are also two categories of items (currently) that contain items held in other parts of the Collections.

  • Archival Fonds (AF): Items held in specific fonds related to individual alumnae, ranging from photographs to documents and diplomas.
  • Museum (M): A category that contains items held in the VGHSONAA museum, such as dolls documenting uniforms, metal nursing pins from the past century, and other commemorative items.

Archival Addresses and Accession Numbers:

If you know the Archival Address (usually two or three letters followed by a period followed by numbers and letters, such as HP.8a or CSA.27e) or the Accession Number (a unique identifying number given to items when they become part of the Archives) of the item you are looking for, these identifiers can be entered into the search boxes beneath the Sub-Collection filter.

On each item’s individual web page, beneath the image there is a section that contains data like these two identifying numbers. Not all items have an Accession Number, but all items have an Archival Address. If you are taking notes and want to save a list of items to look at later, writing down the Archival Addresses of the images you are interested in is an easy way to refer back to them quickly using the Archival Address search bar, because the Addresses do not change. 

People, Places, Settings, and Things (Taxonomy):

Taxonomy is a useful tool for making connections between items that are not in the same Sub-Category or from the same decade. The “People, Places, Settings, and Things” taxonomic tool can be used for many purposes:

  • finding more about the activities of a particular group (e.g., the VGHSONAA Archive, the VGHSONAA Building Society),
  • looking at how types of occasions or settings change over time (e.g., hospital wards, celebrations and holidays),
  • viewing specific types of important objects in different settings (e.g., window displays, historical dolls),
  • finding photos taken at specific locations (e.g., Laurel Pavilion, Nurses Residences),
  • and identifying types of people (e.g., nurses, infant patients, alumnae).

To use the taxonomy filter tool, click “View All” underneath the list of “People, Places, Settings, and Things” options. This will bring up a window that will allow you to check off a variety of options within the five categories of taxonomy types.

You can also click, in any item, on the specific taxonomic terms to view related items.

Note: Clicking the main categories under “People, Places, Settings, and Things” will not yield the level of detail needed to locate items of interest. Be sure to “View All” to navigate the sub-categories!