Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wis Historical Society's ArCat going away

The current Wisconsin Historical Society, ArCat research system  is retiring on February 16, 2015.
ArCat is the online guide to collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society and Area Research Centers.

Area Research centers hold a large variety of older public documents, from city, or county governments. It holds some private collections of genealogies, letters, sometimes church records, maps, photo's, sometimes obituary and newspaper clippings or indexes, and much more.

Link to the network centers:

(Limited hours at network centers, call or e-mail for hours in case you wish to visit.)

As with anything, new and improved, usually, this means it is limited in search capabilities or scope.
I am trying to be optimistic in that it will bring better search results, but just in case it doesn't, or you want to see how the old system works take a peek, you only have a short time.

When the new system is active I will do a follow up post on how it works and the "New " results.

Below are instructions on how to use the system as it exists today.  The best thing about this search tool, was that you could bring up ALL the items that related to the county you were searching, and it has detailed descriptions about the holdings.

For example P7  Portage county has over 200 items in the collection. With a large amount of those items being located in the UW Stevens Point. The descriptions are very detailed with dates, and what is in the collection and call number or collection numbers.

If you live near a Area Research Center, some of the collections can be transferred to it for a short time for you to view. You will want to check with your area center.

I print and take the downloaded pages  to the UW archives or State Historical Society and then ask for specific collections from the archivist.  It saves me time, and the archivist time, by getting exactly what I want.

Instructions: To start your search go to:
Click in  EXPLORE Our Collections button at the bottom of the screen.
Next: click in the Archives Catalog   GO
Next: click  Guided Search
Next: open below link to codes
Link to ArCat Geographical Field codes and sample sign in:

Type in the code of the county or state.

Once you find the county or state you are looking for  scroll to the very bottom of the first page, to:RECORD OPTIONS
 click on ALL
 select DOWNLOAD FORMAT-Full Record   Format for PRINT/SAVE
This is only for the current entries you are looking at (Example 1 to 25)   will save.
You will need to do this with each page of 25 entries.
Or Print 
I have not found any easy way to do it.
Well worth the effort for all the information in the collections.

Nadine Guilbault