Searching DPLA

The most powerful way to discover objects in DPLA is through our standard search.

Standard search

Type whatever you’re looking for—a subject, a name, a place—into the search box at the top of any page on the DPLA website and either click the magnifying glass to the right or hit return/enter on your keyboard.


Search results

The DPLA search results page lists 20 results at a time, sorted by relevance. You can change how you see search results in a number of ways. You can also save the search to your account (see below) and/or share the entire list of search results via Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ using the orange “Share” button.

Items per page

You can view 10, 20, 50, or 100 items per page by selecting your preference from the “Items per page” drop-down menu.

Sort order

By default, the DPLA sorts search results by relevance to your search term(s). You can sort alphabetically or by date by choosing a different sort order from the “Sort by” drop-down menu.


The DPLA lets you refine your search by subject, location, date, format, and language. The menus on the left side of the search results page display the most common subjects, locations, dates, formats, and languages among your search results; clicking on the “more” link within any of these menus will bring you to a full list of options.

List, map, and timeline views

The DPLA provides three options for viewing search results: list, map, and timeline. By default, basic search will take you to the list view. To switch between views, click on the list, pin (for map), or timeline icons next to the search bar.

Advanced search options

Exact phrases

You can search for an exact phrase by enclosing it in quotation marks.

"dog shows" returns items with the exact phrase "dog shows"

Boolean operators

You can combine multiple terms using OR and NOT operators.  The default behavior when searching multiple terms is boolean AND.

dog OR cat
dog || cat
returns items with either dog or cat
dog NOT cat
dog -cat
returns items with dog and without cat


Use an asterisk (*) as a substitute for any collection of characters within a word.

dog* returns items with the words dog, dogs, doggy, dogged, etc.