Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make best use the Search Index facilities ?
There are two ways in which the publications index can be searched. One is a Free Format Search, the other is a structured approach from the question ‘What are you looking for ?’
The Free Format Search will search for any text in the index, comprising one or more words, but may produce an unusably large number of results. It is not recommended as a first choice search tool if you know what you are looking for.
To answer the question ‘What are you looking for ?’, the index has been structured into six main sections. Those six main sections are :
- NAMES of people places or businesses
- Details of ceramic PRODUCTS (with subsections for aspects thereof)
- Aspects of ceramic TRADE, including pricing, imports, exports, warehousing, distribution etc.
- ARCHIVE sources and extracts therefrom
- MUSEUMS, Collections and Exhibitions
- Other GENERAL subjects (detailed below)
The section for NAMES is the largest in the index, with over 15,000 references covering over 3,200 names. Consequently, it has a stepped entry approach, asking first for the initial letter of the name being sought.
The PRODUCTS section has many subsections, to which there are seven ways in, namely :
- Type of MATERIAL or ware
- Type of OBJECT, or its purpose, with subsections for figure makers and figure names,
- MARKS, with subsections for impressed marks, surface marks and pad marks,
- SHAPES, including subsections for manufacturers, names and moulds,
- PATTERNS, including subsections for pattern books, numbers, names and views,
- TRANSFER PRINTS, including subsections for manufacturers and names,
- MANUFACTURING METHODS, including subsections for raw materials, patents, ovens and kilns.
The sections for TRADE, ARCHIVES & MUSEUMS are each structured with Keywords for references to various aspects of those subjects.
The section for other GENERAL subjects caters for subjects which don’t easily fit in to any of the above sections, namely : Archaeology, Art & Design, Canals, Churches, Collieries, Craftsmen, Freemasons, Glass, General History of Ceramics, Inns Pubs & Taverns, Insurance, Pipes, Repairs & Restorations, Schools and Universities, the Slave Trade, Tea, Women, references to the NCS’s history and events, and general sections on Working Conditions, as well as several Miscellaneous sections for indexed references that have not yet been allocated to any other subject section.
When you have found something of potential interest in an index search, click on the link to the Contents page of that publication, and you will see the context of the reference that you have searched for. If you are logged into the website as a member, you will then see a button to download that article or publication, from which you will be able to see what you were looking for, (except Journals for which we still have printed stock available for purchase).
How was the index compiled ?
Over the years, several indexes have been printed for NCS Journals or Newsletters, but inevitably, they cannot keep up with subsequent publications, and so soon become out-of-date. Consequently, this index on the website is in a database which can easily be updated for both new publications, and amendments for corrections or additional information.
The starting point for compiling the database was the three previously printed indexes, namely : (1) Victoria Bergesen’s very detailed index of Journals 1 to 10, published in Journal Volume 11, (2) Douglas Brown’s simplified index to articles in Journals 1 to 25, published in Journal Volume 25, and (3) the index to Newsletters 1 to 115 compiled by Peter Hyland, (assisted by Betty Kilgour and incorporating earlier indexes by Ronald Brown and Kathy Niblett). Douglas Brown updated the Newsletter index to Newsletter 156, which had been available only as a PDF file on the website, and this too was added to the database.
Initially, Rodney Hampson’s index to the Potteries Jotteries 1981-2001, published in Newsletter 122, was included too, but this was then removed from the general index when it was updated for the separate feature on Potteries Jotteries elsewhere on this website.
Subsequently, additions have been made to the original sources by working principally from contents pages, rather than looking for every indexable subject on every page of every publication. As Victoria Bergesen commented, “editorial practice has varied” over the years, to which may be added that indexing practice too has varied.
The index database now contains over 20,000 records, amongst which there are certain to be some unintended errors. There are also certain to be additional useful references which could be added. Editing the database to improve it is now very easy, so please notify any errors or omissions to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Why can I search within some PDF files but not all PDF files ?
The ability to search a PDF file, with tools in Acrobat reader, depends on how that file was compiled. If it was compiled from a text file, then that text should be searchable. However, if the file was compiled from scanned images, then the ability to search for text in those images may not be possible.
Needless to say, there are no surviving original electronic copies of the Newsletters and Journals which were produced in the NCS’s first 30 years or so. The PDF files for those publications, therefore, have had to be compiled by scanning printed copies. Consequently, they are unlikely to be searchable with the tools in Acrobat Reader. As a suggestion, use the general publications index for your searching, rather than trying to search within a particular PDF file.