General information about the search portal "SWA Search"

Which holdings and collections can be found in SWA Search?

The portal covers the entire holdings of the Swiss Economic Archives (SWA). In detail, the following can be found in the portal:

  • All business archives (company archives, association archives, personal archives) of the SWA.

  • All document collections of the economic documentation of the SWA

  • All physical holdings in the document collections (brochures, books, etc.)

  • All physical periodicals of the SWA

  • All documents of the SWA in PDF format (monographs, journals and annual reports)

  • Other media (books, small publications, etc.) that have been indexed using the SWA's specific vocabulary

The electronic and retro-digitized newspaper clippings of the SWA can be found in a separate portal.

As an introduction to SWA Search, we have compiled the following search examples for you.

How do I find an overview of the holdings for a company, e.g. Alusuisse?

For this purpose, the filter "Companies and Organizations" can be used. Within the filter, you can search for the company, e.g. "Schweizerische Aluminium AG".

→ To the search:

In the search results, the various holdings in the SWA are displayed. With this search query, you will find, for example, a document collection from our documentation, an archive holdings with documents from the company archives of Alusuisse, as well as individual media, such as annual reports, brochures, books, etc....

General note about searching for companies and organizations: Company names can change. Therefore, depending on the question, also include the names of predecessor or successor companies in the search.


How do I find an overview of the holdings for a person, e.g. Alfred Escher?

For this purpose, the filter "Persons" can be used. Within the filter, you can search for the person, e.g. "Escher, Alfred".

→ To the search:

In the search results, the various holdings in the SWA are displayed, i.e. in this case there are individual media, such as brochures or books, in addition to the document collection about the person.


How can I find an overview of the thematic holdings? Which topics does the SWA cover at all?

For this purpose, the filter "Subjects" or the filter "Subjects, systematically" can be used.

Hierarchical overview

The filter "Subjects, systematically" gives a hierarchical overview of the topics (i.e. the keywords or subject headings) in the SWA. The thesaurus (STW) used by the SWA for indexing is included in this filter and can be searched hierarchically.

→ Hierarchical search in the thesaurus for "Getränk" (beverage):

Search for individual topics

In the filter Subjects you can search for individual topics (subject headings), e.g. "Unternehmensgeschichte" (company history). The various holdings in the SWA are displayed in the search results.

→ To the search:


What is the purpose of the "Geographical entities" filter, and are all document collections subdivided geographically?

Only a few thematic document collections are subdivided geographically (overview:

Often, however, there are no geographical subdivisions in the topics. Therefore, this filter should be used primarily when a geographically subdivided term has been selected with the "Subjects" filter.

To the search for the geographically subdivided subject "Steuerpolitik" (tax policy) and the geographical term "Kanton Bern" (Canton of Bern):


How do I find all journals on a topic or the annual reports of a company?

Search for journals on the subject "Shipping"

To narrow down the search by topic, the filter "Subjects" can be used. Within the filter, "Shipping" can be searched for. In order to get only journals displayed, the filter "Object type" must additionally be narrowed down to "Journals / Series / Annual reports".

→ To the search: reports.

If only online journals are desired, the option "E-journals" can also be used under "Object type".

→ To the search:

Search for annual reports of the company "Nestlé SA".

To narrow down the search according to the company "Nestlé SA", the filter "Companies and organizations" can be used. To display only journals or annual reports, the filter "Object type" must also be narrowed down to "Zeitschriften/Reihen/Geschäftsberichte" (Journals / Series / Annual reports).

→ To the search:

If only annual reports available online are desired, the option "E-Geschäftsberichte" (electronic annual reports) can also be used under object type.

→ To the search:


How do I find the SWA's digital holdings?

Freely accessible online

The option "online freely accessible" is used to find all holdings that can be consulted online without login / access in Uninetz. Specifically, these are our e-small manuscripts (PDF holdings) and all retrodigitized media from e-rara and e-manuscripta.

Freely accessible online - retrodigitized in e-rara/e-manuscripta

If only the retro-digitized holdings are to be displayed, the above option can be selected.

Online accessible with login

For the digital SWA holdings, a login is only required for the newspaper article holdings. (Access in the network of the University of Basel is possible without a login.) The option "Online - accessible with login" can therefore be used to display an overview of the document collections with digitized newspaper cuttings.


Can I search for authors?

The filter "Author" can be used for this purpose. Within the filter you can search for the author, e.g. "Marx, Karl".

→ To the search:


What do "hierarchy / context" and "level" mean? How do you get an overview of an archive holdings, e.g. Balair?

Hierarchy / Context

This filter is only useful when searching for economic archives holdings. The filter is especially useful if you already know in which archival fonds something should be found. In this case, it is possible to navigate to the desired fonds (the listing of the fonds is alphabetical) and then, in each case, the next levels of the archive tectonics (hierarchical structure) can be displayed with one click.

→ To the search for the company archives of "Balair" ( under Hierarchy / Context, the hierarchical structure of the holdings is displayed):

Hint: The swisscollections catalogue is also very well aligned with our holdings and with hierarchical search. A hierarchical overview of our economic archives can be accessed there at any time. For the company archives of "Balair" for example, the hierarchical structure can be displayed in swisscollections under "Hierarchy / Context":

Level of description

This filter is only useful when searching for the holdings of the economic archives. If, for example, an overview of the company archives, association archives and personal archives of the SWA is to be shown, the option "Partial holdings and holdings" can be selected, thus one has a better overall view, since only the top level of the hierarchical structure is displayed.

Conversely, the filter can be useful if you do not want to have the top level of the hierarchical structure displayed, but only the subordinate files, sub-files and documents. These represent the archival material in its physical structure.

→ To the search for the level "Dossier, Teildossier, Dokument" (file, sub-file, document), here as an example combined with the filter "accessibility" to display all retro-digitized records of the economic archives: dossier+%2F+document.


For the economic archives, is there an option to view only archives of individuals (or only of companies, or only of associations)?

Yes, there is a possibility to display only archives of persons, or of associations, or of companies.

This can be done using the "Object type" filter, based on the options "Archivmaterial: Firmenarchiv / Verbandsarchiv / Personennachlass" (company archives, association archives, personal papers).

→ To search for all archival holdings of persons (personal papers):


I have already worked with a document collection in SWA. Can I search for their call number in SWA Search?

The filter "Call number" can be used for this purpose. Within the filter, you can search for the known call number, e.g. "SWA Vo H XII 12a Nähmaschinen" (Sewing Machines).

→ To the search: