Welcome to the SobekCM Help pages.

Patron Help Technical Help for SobekCM

Common questions are answered in the FAQ on this page and questions can be sent using the "Contact Us" form, linked from the bottom of every page.

Basic Searching

From the main page search box, you can search all of the collections. To do so, type your keywords and click enter or click on the "search" button. Doing so will search all of the citation and additional information (metadata) for all items in all collections, but it will not search the full text. The metadata for each item includes keywords, and it's the best way to find the most relevant materials.

When you submit a search, you'll then see a page that provides the list of results matching the search terms you submitted. The most relevant document appears first, then so on.

Full text searching is also available. To search full text for all items in all collections, click the "Text Search" tab. Then, type your keywords and click enter or click on the "search" button. Please note that searching full text means searching for every instance of a particular word. Thus, searching for "kittens" and including full text will bring up books about kittens, newspapers where kittens are mentioned, and many other resources that aren't focused on kittens.

Boolean Searching
You will only see results that include all of your search terms. Keep in mind that the order in which the terms are typed will affect the search results. To restrict a search further, just include more terms.

  • Use + or and between terms to find records with all the terms.
  • Use - or or between terms to find records with any of the terms.
  • Use ! or and not between terms to exclude records with terms.
  • No need to use "and" between terms, as this is how UFDC automatically searches.

Phrase Searching
Placing quotes around a phrase will search for the exact phrase.

EXAMPLE: "natural history" 

Refining Your Search: Searching by Collection

Search by specific topical or partner collections to further refine your search. From the main search, all collections are searched by default. This cross-searching helps to eliminate the need to re-enter the search query for repeat searches within separate collections. Any single or specific group of collections can also be searched separately.

On the main homepage, the collections are arranged by broad collection groups. To search only one of those, click on the advanced search tab that will bring you to the advanced search screen, or click on the collection group to go to the collection group page with a search box for only that group. From there, you can again choose whether or not to search full text.

The collection groups include multiple collections, and most of those include subcollections. All of the groups, collections, and subcollections can be seen using the tree view from the main page here.

Browsing Collections

Collections and subcollections (all for all collections housed within the SobekCM system can be listed in the tree view on the main page) can be browsed by all and new items. To browse, click on the "All Items" or "New Items" tabs above the search box for the collection you wish to browse.

Advanced Searching

Advanced Search

In addition to the basic search, clicking on the "Advanced Search" tab above the main search area will bring you to the "Advanced Search" screen. On this screen, you can choose to search by certain fields.

Search fields include:

  • Anywhere (full text)
  • Title
  • Author
  • Subject
  • Place of Publication
  • Etc.

Additionally, you can select which collections to include in your search. Uncheck the boxes next to the collection group name to remove it from your search. If you only want to use one collection, you can also click on the collection name to go directly to that collection landing page.

Viewing Items

Each item is displayed in several ways. The options for each item include:

  • Full Citation, which contains all bibliographic information
  • Related Images
  • Page Image, which is a static JPG image
  • Zoomable Image, which is a JPG2000 zoomable image
  • Full text only for search engine robots (others can see this when not logged in by adding ?robot=yes to the end of a permanent URL like this: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00000260/00001?robot=yes

Certain types of items have additional views, including:

  • Map It
  • 360° View
  • And others. For instance, items in the Ephemeral Cities Collection also have related sheets as a view to see related map sheets, along with views by city and street index.

The general item view display is shown below as well as on this page for zooming in on and saving images.

Item View


How do I cite an item?

The "Citation" view for every item provides full information for use in citations and references. The "Permanent URL" is the permanent link where the item can be found and should be included. Proper attribution should include at least:

  • Title/Name of the resource
  • URL of the resource (listed in the citation as the permanent link), or the URL of the collection where the resource can be found 
  • Name of the holding institution (needed for Fair Use usage of materials, may or may not conform to bibliographic citation styles)

For materials in the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), please include this in the citation: Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), http://www.dloc.com

Can I include an item in an academic publication?

Unless additional restrictions are noted, copyrighted electronic materials in this collection may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of Fair Use.  Fair Use is a provision of United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107) which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions.  Under Fair Use you may view, print, photocopy, and download images from this site without prior permission, provided that you provide proper attribution of the source on all copies. For any other use of these electronic materials, including but not limited to display, publication and commercial use, permission of the copyright holder must be obtained.

Please see the permissions page for more information or contact us with any questions.

How do I return to a single item?

Search URLs are dynamically written to include search terms, collections, items, views, and pages. To ensure that the item is included find the item's unique permanent link, which is displayed on the citation view. To see the citation view, go to the item and click on the top "Citation" tab. The full citation includes the permanent link. Simply click on that permanent link and bookmark it to always return to the item.

Selecting the Full Citation View   Full Citation View with the Permanent Link
Full Citation View   BibID or Bibliographic Identifier


How do I print an item?

To print an item, click on the gray print button above the item. The gray button is shown in the screenshot below.


After clicking on the gray print button, a new window opens. The window is shown in the screenshot below. Here, you can choose to:

  • Print only the citation
  • Print the current page
  • Print all pages
  • Print a range of pages that you select
  • Print thumbnails
  • And, whether or not to also print the brief citation


When selecting your printer for printing, you may also select file formats as the printer destination when applicable for your local computer (e.g., Adobe PDF, Microsoft XPS, and other file formats). Printing to file saves a printable copy of the item to your local machine for offline review and printing.

Depending on how your web browser and printer are set up, another option is to save the images and then print from another program on your computer. See the information above for saving images to your computer.


How do I search within a single item?

To search within a single item, use the Advanced Search. Enter your search term in one of the search boxes to identify the item. For instance, enter the title in one search box and select "title" from the drop down options. Then, enter your search term in the next search box, and select "anywhere" from the drop down.

For instance, if you search within the Waterfront News in the Florida Digital Newspaper Library for "yacht" then one of the search boxes will have 'yacht' found ANYWHERE and the other will have "Waterfront News" listed in the title field.

How do I save an image from SobekCM?

Images in SobekCM may be saved directly from SobekCM. Please note that permissions for use on items may be restricted.

To ensure that you're saving the highest quality images, follow these steps.

1. Find the image in SobekCM.

2. From the top menu, make sure "zoomable image" is selected under the "page images" tab. 

3. In the upper left hand corner, select the icon to the right to enlarge the image.

4. The images can also be zoomed-in on further, by using the + and - levels above the image on the left side. Please note that zooming in may display only a portion of the image.

5. After selecting the largest size, right-click on the image as usual to save it. Then click the Esc key to return to the normal view. 

How do I resize a saved image?

SobekCM displays images at normal screen resolution, 72dpi; however, dpi is relative to image size. After downloading an image, it can be resized to a smaller dimension with a greater dpi. For instance, the large version of the image above is 1535x1233 pixels at 72dpi (which would be a printed size of approximately 21 x 17 inches). If it's resized without resampling to 300dpi, the image's printable size would shrink to become approximately 5 x 4 inches.

To resize an image this way, many advanced image editing programs have an "image size" menu. For instance, in Photoshop, click on "image" and then "image size."

Image Size in Photoshop

This brings up a new window with the current size information. From here, unclick the "resample image" box.

Image Size Menu

By unchecking the "resample image" box, the top dimensions become fixed. Then, the resolution can be changed. Changing it will automatically change the print size, as shown in the two images below.

The first image shows the print size without the resolution change and the second shows the print size after the resolution is increased from 72 to 300dpi.

Resampling image size

Image menu with the higher dpi and smaller print size

How do I find items from only a single institution?

The advanced search allows searching by "holding code" where the holding code is the code for the contributing organization. You can also search only the holding institutions by using the iHOLDING_CODE in the web address. Those holding codes can also be directly accessed from the links below.

How do I find items for only one project or collection?

Some of the individual projects are by a single holding institution and those can be searched using the links above. Other projects are collaborative and may be listed on the SobekCM main page or as links from subsequent pages.

Large collaborative projects hosted on the SobekCM system include:

Where can I find publicity materials?

Promotional Materials:

What is OCR?

Optical character recognition (OCR) is a fully automated process that converts an image file or visual image of numbers and letters into actual text (computer-readable numbers and letters). The text can then be read by software to enable text searching.

The OCR process is not completely accurate, and it is less accurate with more difficult images (where the original has unusual text styles, odd fonts and font sizes, images without text, other markings on the images, etc). In some cases, the OCR process will create errors that cannot be corrected through software and other automation and that can only be corrected manually by human oversight. Despite not being perfect, OCR is very important because it creates searchable text for historical documents. As needed and when resources are available, the searchable text can be corrected to 100 percent with far less effort than would be required for full transcription.

For items that are page-images, the full text can be displayed by adding ?robot=yes to the end of the URL. For example, for an item like this: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/aa00023135/00001
The URL becomes this: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/aa00023135/00001?robot=yes
Please note that this only works if you are not logged in as a registered user. This is a trick to see the pages that are given to search engine robots; these pages are normally hidden because of the often confusing and inaccurate text generated from OCR.

Where can I find additional years of a newspaper?

For newspaper issues that are not online, they are often only available on microfilm. You can request that your local library borrow the film using interlibrary loan and then the film can be sent to them, so that you can access the film in your local library.

For the Florida Digital Newspaper Library, the University of Central Florida maintains a guide (http://guides.ucf.edu/content.php?pid=44322&sid=327714) that lists current and historic titles and dates that have been digitized, as well as information about titles and dates on microfilm.

Where can I find more information on a topic I found referenced in these collections?

The UF Digital Collections does not have additional information on some items. Your local library can assist with information on different research tools and methods for further inquiry.

Can you tell me the value of my book or an item in my collection?

The University of Florida cannot make such a valuation.

For books, a used or rare book dealer in your area may be able to take a look and give you an idea of edition and any other pertinent information. Also, there is a website www.rbms.info that will give you some information. You could also search www.abebooks.com which is a site where used and rare book dealers post their books, and see if another copy is for sale and if so, what information is available.

For collectibles, the Smithsonian Institution's Encyclopedia Smithsonian (http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/id-obj.htm) provides an overview on identifying and valuing collectible objects. The page includes links to several appraisal organizations and a reference list of helpful books and magazines.

Can you tell me the name of a children's book where I don't remember the title or author?

It is very difficult to identify a book without a title or an author. There are many people who search for books from their childhood and they can only remember a character's name, or the general idea of the story. To aid with these sorts of questions some booksellers maintain archives of previous quests for remembered children's books. This site has helped others in the past with many questions already answered in the archives and new questions are shared for the community to assist with answers: http://www.loganberrybooks.com/stump.html

How do I compare the digital with the print?

Some materials in the collections are also physically held by different institutions. Those institutions are listed as the holding institution in the citation for each item.

For instance, digitized items from the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature that are available online are also held in the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature, Special & Area Studies Collections Department, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. For access to print materials in the Baldwin, contact the Curator of the Baldwin or the Special & Area Studies Collections Department. Materials can also be accessed in the Special Collections Reading Room at the University of Florida.

Where can I find more information about something mentioned in an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) publication?

Often we do not have further information on the contents of materials included in the UF Digital Collections. The Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) may have further information or the Extension Agent in your area may be able to provide assistance. This page lists all of the local county offices for IFAS which then lists local contacts in your area: http://solutionsforyourlife.com/map/

Where can UF-affiliates and instructors digitize materials?

  • Libraries
    • Scanners are available in the Smathers Library, Marston Science Library, the Architecture & Fine Arts Library, and the Education Library. Imaging software varies, depending on the location.  The InfoCommons in Library West includes two digital media production studios.
  • CIRCA, the Center for Instructional and Research Computing Activities, Computer Labs
    • CIRCA provides eight computer classrooms and supporting computer lab work areas in five separate facilities for the use of all University of Florida students, faculty, and staff. All eight classrooms are available for reservation by instructors of UF courses. In order to use CIRCA facilities, you must have a valid Gatorlink Account.  
  • Center for Instructional Teaching & Technology (CITT)
    • 2215 Turlington Hall | 352.273.4902
      CITT provides assistance, training, and support in the use of computer technologies for instruction for instructors. Contact CITT to set up an appointment regarding digitizing materials. Services include: Flatbed scanning; Slide scanning; A/V digitization
  • Course Reserves
    • Faculty may submit supplemental readings for courses to be available through electronic Course Reserves. The Libraries scan and make articles, chapters of books, documents, etc. available electronically through the Course Reserves system.

How can my newspaper or my hometown paper be included in the Florida Digital Newspaper Library or the Caribbean Newspaper Digital Library?

The UF Libraries alone have over 30,000 reels of newspapers on microfilm in addition to printed newspapers, and so are always looking for new funding sources to support digitization of newspapers from print and microfilm when possible. Whenever possible, the UF Libraries partner with other institutions to seek funding for the digitization of Florida and Caribbean newspapers to be included in the shared Florida Digital Newspaper Library as well as in the Digital Library of the Caribbean's (dLOC; www.dloc.com) Caribbean Newspaper Digital Library.

Examples of prior digitization grants are available, as with this LSTA grant from the Hendry County Library Cooperative to digitize the 1928-1945 issues of the Clewiston News.

Please contact us with any questions.

High Resolution JP2 Images

Depending on permissions, images collection can be downloaded as JPEG 2000 (JP2) files. The Irfanview software is available as freeware (http://www.irfanview.com/) to view, convert, and batch convert JP2 images. For some collections, like the Aerials: Florida all items can have all JP2s downloaded and show a "downloads" tab for user ease (enabled for all items with material type "aerial"). For downloading many JP2s, there are additional tools like Firefox with its "DownThemAll" for bulk downloading.

(More information on free JP2 viewers is available from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection http://data.labins.org/2003/General/reference/graphics_tips.cfm.)

UF internal users can see additional help and standard internal processing steps in this help document.

One of the digital items mentions or links to a Finding Aid (or Finding Guide). What is a finding aid?

Text from the Special & Area Studies Collections Department, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida:

Finding aids are descriptive tools such as guides, inventories, or catalogs, which are used to describe archival records and manuscript collections. Typically, a finding aid provides information about the creator, origin, scope, content, format, date range, and arrangement of the papers or records. Often, the finding aid includes a detailed container list that provides information about the folders or items in the collection. Most collections are described at the folder level, rather than at the item level. In addition to the container list, other common elements of the finding aid include:

  • Collection Information - Title of the collection, date span, and name of the person, family, or organization responsible for the creation of the papers or records. Also, the extent of the collection is provided as a container count or as a measurement of linear/cubic feet.
  • Biographical/Historical Note - Biographical summary or organizational history, written as a narrative statement and/or a chronological listing, which establishes a context for the papers or records.
  • Scope and Content Note - A description of the collection, detailing its content, formats, and use. Generally, this note includes the most significant persons, organizations, events, and subjects represented by the collection.
  • Administrative Information - Information about how the collection was acquired, how it was processed and by whom, the arrangement of the material, and any access or use restrictions.
  • Series Descriptions - Some collections are organized into discrete sections according to function or format of the records (such as Outgoing Correspondence, News Clippings, or Meeting Minutes). These discrete sections, or series, often have their own scope and content notes describing the contents.

It should be noted, however, that finding aids come in numerous shapes and sizes. Just as no two collections are exactly the same, finding aids rarely share all of the same components. Larger collections, for example, often have series descriptions and container lists, while small collections may not require any description beyond the Scope and Content Note.

Keep in mind that finding aids can only go so far in pointing out relevant sources for your research. Departmental staff members are familiar with these collections and can assist you in identifying useful archival records or manuscript collections.