If you are likely to want to return to inspect this catalogue on a regular basis, we suggest that you print these notes out and keep them to hand.
The search facility on the catalogue database is set to allow selective access to groups of images through six levels down to individual locations, but only by selecting from the system generated lists of options at each level. These system generated drop down lists contain all the valid entries for each of the fields in question and are themselves extracted from the database, and relate solely to the records so far transferred into it. So although the full catalogue contains pictures at many more locations, the details for these will not appear in the lists on the website until the corresponding records are themselves uploaded.
The content of each of the drop down lists is dependent on the selection made at the level above and in most cases the drop down list is not therefore available until the level above has been selected. Simply keying an entry in to any of the first six boxex on the search form will not work, such entries will not be checked against the database.
The country names and operating bodies used generally reflect the era in which most of the photographs were taken so Germany is split into East & West and the former Jugoslavia appears as a single entity rather than the 5 republics that exist today. Similarly the operating body groupings in the UK are more or less based on the BR regions as they were around 1950 so the route used for a modern day image of one of the Train Operating Companies or a steam worked railtour at Kings Cross for instance would still be categorised as 'British Railways - Eastern Region' and 'Great Northern Main line'. In many cases the names applied and the geographical extremities of the routes defined are purely abitrary as they are solely a means of grouping images together in a meaningful way. This is one reason why users will have to use the drop down lists as these display the bodies and routes as they are actually defined, otherwise the user would have to be guessing.
In addition to the six fields already mentioned there are three others at the bottom of the search form that are mutually exclusive. Any entry made and selected in one of these will be used for the search and nothing other than the single entry will be used or should be applied. The first of these allows for a selection of images by Locomotive builder which will find all relevant entries for a given builder from around the world. The next allows the entry of a specific image number and allows direct access to the record where this number is known and exists in the database. Using this to search for an image already set up elsewhere on our website will not find it until this has been imported into the on-line database. The last field allows entry of a string of four or more characters that will then be used to search the description fields of all the records in the database. This is mainly intended to allow searches for locomotive running numbers as these are not set up in a defined field in the master database as in many cases they are relatively meaningless. After all there are many number 1s, 2s & 3s when it comes to industrial locomotives. Be aware though that you might get more than you expect - a search for 46220 might eventually bring up both a Stanier Pacific and a TCDD Middle East 2-8-2 (neither of which are in the catalogue at present).
Returning to the top six fields down to location level, the first of these 'Photographer' can be ignored at present as the drop down list only has a single entry 'pr' which refers to Paul Riley and the only pictures so far set up are his. Once there are other photographers work included use of this field would allow someone looking for pictures on the 'Settle & Carlisle line' for instance to use this option to select a particular photographers shots on it or leave it blank to find everybodys. The next field down 'Country' must be selected in all cases as all the fields below it vary according to this selection but the option is available to proceed with the search at this point and select all records for the country in question regardless of their subject content which is defined by the next field in the chain - 'Category'. The category field can offer up to five selections: Common carrier which covers all carriers offering some sort of normal commercial (non heritage) transport facility to the public at large, 'Industrial' covering internal railway operations used for internal purposes by private concerns, 'Heritage' covering operations for tourism purposes outside the public network, 'Tram systems' generally meaning street tramways and 'General' which are miscellaneous shots of all sorts of subjects that were part of the photographers collections (only a few of which will be imported into the on-line database). Again the user could stop at this level and select all Common carrier shots for the selected country or continue on down through 'Operator'. 'Route' & 'Location' levels, continually narrowing the range of records to be found. If the 'General' category is selected the screen changes and a 'Proceed' button appears, because all the remaining fields below this point have no relevance to any photograph so categorised. Clicking the 'Proceed' brings up another screen asking for confirmation to continue of offering the chance to step back and select another category. In a similar manner selecting either the 'Industrial' or 'Tram system categories' will bring up a proceed button immdeiately below and clicking this will bring up alternative screens with differing entry fields for the two categories.
As regards navigation through the catalogue, the buttons controlling movement through the records default constantly to the 'Next' button and to move on in this direction you can just click the 'Continue' button. To move backwards through the records you would have to click 'Back' & then 'Continue' for each so it is quicker to use the browsers back button for as far as the history retains the pages. There is no point in bookmarking any particular record that you might wish to return to as all records are accessed via a single page that is constantly reloaded as the records are selected and only exists in this form at the point it is selected.
For anyone wishing to browse through all the pictures taken by a selected photographer which may run to many thousands, provision has been made to pick up the records at the last one previously visited. To do this you will need to keep a note of the record number reached so that the sequence can be restarted at this point when you next visit. The number that you need to note is NOT the image reference but the record number just above the 'Continue' button to the right of the picture. When you are ready to restart browsing these records, select the 'Maintenance' button from the drop down menu for the Catalogue system at the right hand end of the menu bar on the Catalogue front page or alternatively the one at the bottom of the page if drop downs do not work in your browser. This will bring up the Maintenance login screen that is mainly used for internal purposes, but the top field on this is labelled 'Record number'. Just enter the record number that you had last reached in here and click the 'Proceed' button.
The catalogue has been tested using the latest versions of Firefox, Google Chrome,Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari and displays pretty consistently on both PC & Mac platforms. Problems of alignment might well arise with older browsers.
Version 3 - January 2010