The AFHRA index database consists of about 550,000 records. Each record represents one document (or collection of documents) maintained by AFHRA. Each record has a number of searchable fields, like Author, Title, Subject, Abstract, etc., which are described in more detail below. You can think of the index as a library card catalog for Air Force historical documents.
Searches are performed only using letters and numbers in your search terms; punctuation and non-letter/non-number characters are treated like spaces, so a search for "B-17" is treated the same as "B 17", and "Lemay, Curtis" is the same as "Lemay Curtis".
By default our web site searches for whatever terms you enter in every field of the AFHRA index. But you can be much more creative than this, and the table below gives you an idea of the sorts of searches you can do:
|Search term||What it searches for|
|bomber||"bomber" in any field|
|fighter bomber||"fighter" in any field and "bomber" in any field|
|fighter OR bomber||"fighter" or "bomber" in any field|
|"fighter bomber"||The exact phrase "fighter bomber" in any field|
|fight*||Any word starting with "fight" in any field, e.g., "fight", "fighter", "fighting"|
|Ju?||Any word starting with "Ju" followed by any character, in any field. E.g., "JUN" or "JUL". (? matches any single character, * matches any number of characters)|
|monthly NEAR3 maintenance||The word "monthly" within three words of the word "maintenance" in any field.|
|subject=fighter||"fighter" in the Subject field only|
|abstract=fighter bomber AND nuclear||"fighter" in the Abstract field and "bomber" in the Abstract field and "nuclear" in any field|
|title="fighter bomber" AND nuclear||The exact phrase "fighter bomber" in the Title field and "nuclear" in any field|
You can do even more sophisticated searches, but we won't go into them here. If you're interested, please read the swish-e search tutorial.
An important note for those interested in aircraft histories: our index considers a dash character ("-") to be the same as a space. So if you want to find information on the B-17 bomber, searching for B-17 won't do what you want because it will search for any record with the word "B" and also with the number "17". Instead you should search for "B-17" in quotes.
Names in the AFHRA index are sometimes listed as as "Firstname Lastname" (e.g., "Curtis Lemay") and sometimes as "Lastname, Firstname" (e.g., "Lemay, Curtis"). Middle initials are sometimes present, too. So if you're searching for somebody's name, we suggest entering the first and last names in the search box without quotation marks. This will get you the maximum number of records to start with. If the name you are searching for is very common (e.g., John Smith) and you get too many incorrect results, then try entering the full name in quotation marks as both "Firstname Lastname" and then in a second search as "Lastname Firstname".
Searches are case insensitive. That is, "bomber" is the same as "BOMBER". The AFHRA database itself is entirely in upper case, so we convert whatever you type in to upper case anyway.
On the search results page you'll see a small Microsoft Excel icon . Clicking this icon on the search results page will allow you to download up to 65,000 records of your search results in "comma-separated values" (CSV) format. If your search results are less than 2,000 items you also have the option to download a PDF version by clicking on the small Adobe Acrobat icon on the search results page.
The following is an alphabetical listing of all fields in the AFHRA database. Note that for any given record many fields may be blank:
|Abstract||Abstract of document.|
|AccsnrID||Identifier of person who accessioned document.|
|Accnotes||Notes made by accessioner.|
|Admin||"Administrative markings" on the document. Examples include FOUO (for official use only), NOFORN (not releasable to foreign nationals), ORCON (dissemination controlled by originator), PROPIN (proprietary information), WNINTEL (warning notice, intelligence sources or methods), and CNWDI (critical nuclear weapon design information). For more information see DCID 1/7.|
|Audiorec||Number in audio or video reel series. Records the existence of audiotapes, video tapes, phonograph records, and other types of non-paper and non-microfilm materials. Microfiche as media is recorded in Dnotes.|
|Author||Author of document.|
|Beg_Date||Earliest date covered by document.|
|Call||Library-like call number (internal to AFHRA).|
|Class||Classification of the document: unclassified, confidential, secret, or top secret.|
|DNotes||Descriptive notes. Records the physical document; the content of the document is described in Abstract. Includes items such as on microfilm only; some pages illegible; etc.|
|End_Date||Last date covered by document.|
|Frame, FrameLst||First and last microfilm frame number (internal to AFHRA).|
|IndexID||Identifier of the person who indexed the document.|
|IRISNUM||Main numerical document identifier used by AFHRA.|
|Main||Main entry. May be either a personal name as the author of a work, an Air Force unit ads an issuing agency or corporate author of a work, or the title of a work. Title is used when no person, corporate, or issuing agency is identifiable as responsible for authorizing the work. On a unit history the name of the unit, not the name of the historian, is the main entry. If there is more than one person, corporate, or issuing agency involved, the additional entries are used in the Author field. Personal collections will always contain the name of the collector, usually in DNotes.|
|MajCom||Major Command associated with document.|
|Numpages||Number of pages in document.|
|OldAcc||Old accession number (used internally by AFHRA).|
|Pub_date||Date document was originally published.|
|QCID, QC_Comments, QC_Date||Quality control ID, comments, and date.|
|Rectype||Record type. Records the type of material being indexed using the following codes: O, oral history interview; C, CHECO microfilm; P, calendar (personal papers only); E., end of tour report; Q, correspondence; H, history and supporting documents; Z, papers.|
|Rel_Date||Date document was released to AFHRA.|
|Secinfo||Security/declassification review information.|
|Subject||Subject of document.|
|Title||Title of document.|
|Title_AE||Title added entries.|
|Title_XT||Extended title. Originally used to extend the title, now used to complete or enrich both title fields and call numbers. Usually contains information on multi-volume or multi-selection documents.|
|Reel||Microfilm reel number (internal to AFHRA).|
The web site searches for terms in all fields by default. If you decide to limit your search to particular fields, we believe that in general the Abstract, Subject, and Title fields will be the most fruitful.
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