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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 You can think of the index as a library card catalog for Air Force historical documents.

Search Syntax

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 termWhat 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 maintenanceThe 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 nuclearThe 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.

Searching by Aircraft Designators (e.g., B-17)

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.

Searching for Names

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

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.

Downloading Search Results

On the search results page you'll see a small Microsoft Excel icon 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 Adobe Acrobat icon on the search results page.

Index Fields

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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