University of Minnesota

Search Tips

There are simple and advanced search options. You can search across collections, or focus within one collection. Search results can be displayed in a thumbnail grid, in a list, on a map, in a timeline, or as a gallery. Clicking on an item will bring up the details page, which includes a larger view, more information, and related items. Other functions may include zooming, creation of clips, or transcripts, depending on the file type.

How can I do a basic search?

Enter your terms into the Search box and click the magnifying glass. To display all content, leave the box blank and click the magnifying glass.

How can I do an Advanced Search?

Click the dropdown arrow next to the magnifying glass and select Advanced Search. Advanced Search allows you to search specific fields, locations, dates, and collections.

What is a Fuzzy Search?

A Fuzzy Search will return a broader result from specific terms.


How can I share and organize OpenDCL materials?

Most items will include an embed link so materials can be added to Canvas or other course websites. You can also create Drawers, which can be shared with a class or other specified users. More information on Drawers can be found below.


What is the copyright status of OpenDCL materials?

Unless materials have a Creative Commons license or are in the public domain, you will need to contact the content owner for permission for any use outside of the OpenDCL.

The University of Minnesota Libraries has a copyright information site that can help you with thinking through copyright concerns.


The OpenDCL has many departments, centers, and faculty contributing their materials. You can search across collections, or search just one collection at a time. If there is a checkmark next to the collection name in the dropdown menu, there will be subcollections in that collection.


What is a Drawer?

Drawers are a way for users to group materials and organize them into one place. Users can create Drawers, add assets to those Drawers, and share the Drawers with other users.

How do I make a new Drawer? How do I put items in a Drawer? Can I put more than one item in the Drawer at one time?

Search for the item or items you want to include in your Drawer. When your selections are displayed, click on the Drawers tab and select Add to Drawer. Type in a name for your Drawer and click Create Drawer. Then click Add to Drawer to add the item(s) to it. You can continue adding items to your Drawers as needed by finding your selections, clicking Drawers, choosing the Drawer you want to add them to, and then selecting Add to Drawer.

How can I share a Drawer?

Select a Drawer from the dropdown, and select the Drawer Permissions option. Click the Create a new group button partway down the page. Select a Group Type from the dropdown list. To add a course, select Course. Your current courses are listed in the dropdown; select the course you want to assign to this Drawer, and then click the Save button. 

How many Drawers can I have?

There is no limit on Drawers. You can make as many as you want or need.


File Type: This indicates what kind of file you will be accessing. The options include image, video, DOC, TXT, PDF, PPT, 3D, and SCORM.

Title: This can be the formal title given to an item, or a descriptive title supplied by the collection. Most titles will be in English, but not all. Some items will have multiple titles, including a title for a series.

Keywords: These are terms associated with the item that may not be included elsewhere in the record.

Date: Dates are expressd using 'ca.' for 'circa,' and BCE and CE to indicate Before Common Era and Common Era.

Digital ID: All items in the database can be identified by a unique number. This number can be searched, and is the most effective way to find the same record again.

Location: The physical location of an item, its place of creation or discovery, and other location-related events are each expressed with a string from greater to smaller—Continent-Region-Country-State-City/Site.

Creator: Any artist, architectural firm, photographer, researcher, etc., responsible in some way for the item being displayed will be considered a Creator. There will often be multiple Creators for an item.

Culture: This refers to the culture that produced the item.

Source: This refers to the source of the media file. When an image is derived from a published source, the author and publication information will be included, when available. Sources for audio and video files will also be displayed when available.

Drawers: Items or pages of items can be saved by the user in Drawers. Drawers can be created for personal or public use.

Description: More specific information about an item may be supplied, e.g., the type of view, the subject(s) depicted, or the content of a video clip.

Style/Period: This indicates the artistic or architectural style of an item and/or the historical period or dynasty during which an item was produced.

Technique: This describes the processes by which an item was made.

Materials: This specifies the substances from which an item is made.

Measurements: This refers to the physical or temporal dimensions of an item.

Copyright: This is the exclusive legal right of a creator or an assignee to publish or reproduce literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same. Many items are alread granted permissions through Creative Commons designation. Where open licenses or other usage rights are not indicated, users should contact content owner for any permissions needed to use materials on this site.