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Research Tips and Tools

The Seattle Municipal Archives has developed guides to resources that may help with certain types of research:

We also have several tools that may be of use to researchers:

  • Thesaurus: This is a list of standardized subject terms we use to maintain consistency in our cataloging. For example, we use the term "landfills"; if you are searching on "dumps," your search may not bring up all the relevant records. If you find an item that matches what you are searching for, cutting and pasting the subject terms for that item into the index terms search field will bring up similar results.

  • Neighborhood Map Atlas: Neighborhood districts are determined using this atlas. For databases that are indexed by neighborhood, this tool can help you ensure you're searching on the name we use for a specific area.

  • Annexation Tool: This interactive map details the legislative history of all annexations to Seattle from 1869 through 1975, including relevant ordinances, dates of annexation, and other related information.

  • Street Designation Maps: Older documents in the archives often reference street designations as they appeared before the city changed its directional scheme in 1961. These maps show the designations before and after the change.

Descriptions of the types of materials cataloged in each database can be found here. We have also created tips for searching each of our databases:

Photographs Archives Guide Subject Files
Film Audio Maps
Published Documents General Files Annexed Cities
Folklife Audio WTO