Dear Portal friends: Do you enjoy having history at your fingertips? We’ve appreciated your support over the years, and need your help to keep history alive. Here’s the deal: we’ve received a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now it’s time to keep our word and raise matching funds for the Cathy Nelson Hartman Portal to Texas History Endowment. If even half the people who use the Portal this month give $5, we’d meet our $1.5 million goal immediately! All donations are tax-deductible and support Texas history: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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Guides > Finding Information in the Portal > Before You Start

Before You Start

Finding Information

There are two basic approaches for discovering information: Exploring and Searching.

Exploring allows you to browse the contents of the Portal by choosing from pre-set categories of information (locations, subjects, dates, resource types, contributing partners, and collections). Exploring is a great way to get an overview of the Portal's extensive range of resources.

Searching allows you to find specific items by entering your own keywords, phrases, dates and limits. You can conduct a Basic Search or an Advanced Search depending on how you want to enter your search terms. To learn more, see the Search Overview guide.


The Portal's main navigation is located at the top of the screen:

  • The title, The Portal to Texas History, always links to the home page.
  • The global navigation in the upper right corner of the screen (Home, Search, Explore, About, Help) remains constant as you move through the Portal.
  • The secondary navigation in the red bar changes according to your location in the Portal and the tasks you are undertaking. Menu items in the red bar are highlighted in blue to show your current location/task.

Additional menus and commands are provided throughout the Portal to help you accomplish your tasks.

Getting Help

Click "Help" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to find in-depth help guides, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), and explanations of words and symbols used in the Portal. If you need more assistance, click the "Feedback" link found on the bottom of each page to submit your questions to the Portal staff.

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