How To Guide

There are thousands of pages of materials about Northfield’s history in the Northfield History Collaborative. Here are some tips on how to use our program.


If you go to our homepage,, there is a search box in the upper right-hand corner of the page. It’s important to note that that box only searches the WordPress portion of our site — the pages with the sky blue on the edges, or that have “northfieldhistorycollaborative” in the web address. These are the introduction pages to each of our partners, as well as our blogs – it does not include the actual content of the Collaborative.

The box below the rotating photographs is where you’ll find options to search the contents of the Collaborative. In the upper-right corner of that box, you have the option to do an advanced search of the Collaborative’s content in our ContentDM site, browse all of the items, or search by keyword within the whole collection or individual partner collections.

All of these options will bring you into ContentDM, which is the program we use to show and describe content online. This is hosted for us very kindly by Carleton College.


From within ContentDM, you have the option to do a simple keyword search of the collection from a box in the top left.

At the the ContentDM home page (, you’ll find a list of the different collections within the Collaborative (and also several other Carleton College collections stored in the same place), and a small description about each of them. Click on the name of the collection to learn more about it.

At the top of the home page you can also Browse All – if you’re interested in going through 9,000 items! You also have the option there to un-select collections to narrow your browse.

If you want to search the Collaborative, choose “Advanced Search” from the top bar of the page. There are a number of options there: searching across all fields, searching across selected fields (title, creator, etc.), searching across all of the collections, or just inside one or two. For example, Carleton’s “Miscellany” and “Algol” collections are quite large. If you exclude them from your search, assuming you aren’t interested in them, you’ll have less results to wade through.

Once you’ve selected a title, knowing how to use the item viewer makes a big difference!

For example, take a look at this memorial sermon for Bishop Whipple.

  • At the right, you’ll see a box of thumbnail images if your item has multiple pages.
  • In the third tab of the image viewer, you can search the text of the object. Try entering “Whipple,” and hit enter. You’ll notice on the right that the software will produce the pages for you where it was able to find that word (and remember that the software that reads words isn’t always perfect!). When you look at one of the results pages, it will highlight that word in red.
  • The bar above the image allows you to manipulate the image you’re looking at. The first two bar lets you zoom in and out. The second icon will reconfigure your page so that the thumbnail icons of multiple pages appears below the image instead of on the right. This is nice if your image is very wide, or you just want to zoom in extra-close! The third icon fits the whole image into your viewer window; the fourth makes your image the width of the viewing window; the last two icons let you rotate the image to the left or right. In the upper left of the viewing window, a thumbnail of your current image shows you which portion of the image you’re looking at — whether it’s the top, bottom, left, right, entirety, etc. You can drag the thumbnail in its box to adjust your view at the current zoom-level.
  • The other important information you’ll find about an item is below the image viewer. Down here you’ll find listed information about the object as a whole, and then about the particular page you’re looking at, if your item has multiple pages. If the information you’re looking at includes blue underlined text, you can click on any word to search for related items that include that term in the same field.
  • One of the last pieces of information on the page is a transcription of the item you’re looking at. You can also see this information side-by-side with the image if you click “View Image and Text” above the image viewer and to the right.
  • To the right of the “View Image and Text” are options for those who want to download or print what they’re seeing.
  • New to ContentDM 6, to which Carleton College upgraded in June 2013, are some social media components. Users can add tags, leave comments, rate the items they’re looking at, share items via hundreds of social media sites, find a reference URL, and create their own set of favorites.

We hope that better understanding our programs helps you to find them more useful!

Questions? Please let us know at NHC[at]

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