Browse or Search?

With over 10,000 documents on file, finding anything in the TCI Library can be a daunting challenge.

TCI Library users have several tools to help find information.

DISCLAIMER: The TCI Library is built using commercially available software tools. TCI has little control over the design or operation of the tools.  We understand that the tool set selected has some unique features that do not perform in a manner that most users find intuitive.  A learning curve is required to use the Library to its full potential. 

At the time the tools were selected, they were the best we found that supported the type of storage and access anticipated.  We are looking for volunteers to help us evaluate and select alternative tools, especially for sorting.  Until alternatives are found, tested and installed please read the introductory pages on browsing and sorting completely and refer to them often until you understand how they work.

HINT: Click on the 'Print" icon on the upper right to open a text copy of this page in a new window for reference.  Then click on Basic Search to view the keyword entry box and try some searches.

Browsing is hunting for information by looking at titles in the Library’s category folders.  Looking in each category is similar to looking at the titles of books on a shelf and selecting one to read.

Browsing is useful for general research or when you know the document or type of document that may contain the info you seek.

Searching is hunting for information using one or more keywords that specify characteristics of the desired information.  A search engine hunts through all items in the Library and returns a list of recommended files.

Searching is useful to find info on detailed specific subjects, such as a particular model of phone or equipment.

Browse by category

Clicking on Browse the Library or Document Repository takes you to the top level of the Library filing system, where you see the major sections of the Library displayed as links with folder icons.

Clicking on any category link (with a folder icon) takes you a level deeper into the Library.  As you go deeper, note that the path you took is displayed on the “You are here:” line.

On some levels, you have the choice of selecting a sub-category to go deeper to a more specialized level or selecting a file (link with a pdf icon). Each link is a title of the document associated with the file. The Description, if any, is shown as following lines of text.  For each file, you have the choice to Download, View or look at expanded details for the document.

Document Repository Categories
  - Sub-category
      - Sub-category and documents
          - Sub-category and documents
               - Documents

Eventually, you will find a level with only documents, so you cannot go deeper.  If you want to keep looking elsewhere, you can use the browser back button to go up a level, click on any link in the path shown on the “You are here:” line to jump up to a higher level category and try a different path or start over by selecting the Browse the Library link on the Menu Bar.


Note that the sort is based on the text currently in the document title.  Some titles for similar items may not be in a consistent format, so similar items may not be grouped together.  For example, BSPs coded C32 001 and C32.002 will not be in the desired order.  Please let us know if you find any confusing entries, so we can make the Library easier to use.


Where available, the List View shows the category structure of part of the Library.  See Introduction / - Using List View for details.

To browse by category, continue with Browse the Library in the Menu Bar.

Browse using Menu Bar Drop-down lists

The Menu Bar provides short cuts for Power Browsers to help you jump around faster. As you mouse over a menu entry, new options may be revealed below or to the right of the current entry.  These links do not follow the Library hierarchy, so can go to any pre-selected location in the Library.  The Staff has selected some of the more popular pages to include in the drop-down lists.

Try mousing over Browse the Library, then Wiring Diagrams then Automatic Electric.  A left click takes you straight to the AE Wiring Diagrams page.  We refer to that move as follows:

     Browse the Library / Wiring Diagrams / Automatic Electric


Search allows you specify keywords and instructions to the search engine, and it may return several likely documents for your review.  These can be filed anywhere in the Library.

The Library offers a choice of three search engines with different capabilities, for a variety of search types and users.

Details of how to structure searches are contained in the “Using the …” entries associated with each search engine shown under Search in the Menu Bar.

To learn more about searching, continue with  Search / - Which Search to Use?  In the Menu Bar.


New User?

Read the articles under "Introduction" in the black menu bar above.

Recent Contributors

Thanks for new documents from Jeff Lamb, Chuck Hensley, John Novack, Paul Fassbender, Clint Gilliland, Steve Cichorsky, John Gilbert, Chuck Batson, Alan David, Steve Flocke, Paul Wills, Dave Gruger, Jim Prather, John Stancliff and Sam Etler.

Please send a file to add your name to this list!

Who's online

We have 740 guests online

Hints for using the TCI Library

"Menu Bar" for site navigation.
Many menu choices are hidden until you mouse over the menu.  If you want help getting started, see the links under the word "Introduction" in the Menu Bar.
The user interface is oriented toward the user’s choice to either Browse or Search for information.  The Browse the Library menu entry offers many quick links to move around the Library quickly.  Try it!

Three search options.
The Library’s keyword-based searches, called Basic Search and Advanced Search, accept keywords as short as 2 characters (WE, AE, etc.) and search strings up to 255 characters.  If you get more than 1,000 items, refine your search or try the Google Search option.
Library INBOX.
The INBOX may hold some files that have been submitted but not fully processed into the Library.  These are often topics of current discussion on the TCI Listserv.
Finding BSPs.
Many BSPs are currently only identified by BSP number. If a text search doesn’t produce a BSP, try looking in one of the many BSP index documents to find a BSP number for the product you are researching just as you would do if referencing a paper library of the BSPs. Then enter the BSP number in the search box.



Telephone Collectors International was incorporated under the laws of the state of Kansas on May 13, 1986. The goal of the organization is "to educate the public, as well as the members of the Corporation, regarding the history of telephony, the value of old telephones and related items, their collectability and preservation; to research telephone history and publish and provide literature thereon; to promote the public exhibition of old telephones and related items; and to promote common courtesies and guidelines for use by the public." Telephone Collectors International is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization, to which U.S. tax deductible contributions can be made.