Which Search should I use?

The TCI Library offers users three different search engines.  Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.  See the "Using" pages for each search for details.  In General:

  • Basic Search is recommended for general searches.  The default search order is different, depending on how Basic Search is started. 
    • If started using the search box in the upper right of the window, the default search order is Newest First (chronological), based on the date added to the Library.
    • If started from the Menu Bar (Search / Basic Search), the default search order is Alphabetical.
  • Advanced Search is useful if more than 1,000 results are returned with Basic Search using multiple keywords. Searches can be limited to a single Library Category, or a single data Type. Select Search / Advanced Search from the Menu Bar.
  • Google Search does not depend on the TCI Library's Names and Descriptions.  It can also search the text of many documents, so may return more results.  It has a more advanced user interface, so is recommended for power users. Select Search / Google Search from the Menu Bar.


Basic and Advanced Searches limit responses to 1,000 matches per search.  See the directions for each search type for details.  If your search returns 1,000 or more searches, try adding more keywords or more specific keywords.  If you still can't structure a search that returns under 1,000 matches, try the Google Search.

Since the Library passed the 10,000 documents milestone, finding specific information can feel like "looking for a needle in a haystack."  One search tool has not proven effective for all conditions.  The Library staff is searching for other alternatives.

In many cases, the same techniques used in hunting through paper files apply in the TCI Library.  Finding references to articles in footnotes, bibliographies or BSP index documents will often turn up better results than a simple electronic search.  Having a specific document title or BSP number to find is always helpful.

Let us know what works for you.  Use the Contact Us link 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.

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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.