Use this section to find out more about how to use this site.
Q:What's the difference between search and browse?
Search allows you to look through all the disclosed material, the Panel's Report, and all the other pages on this website with complete flexibility. You can choose what keywords or phrases to search for and what you wish to include in your search.
Browse allows you to look through the disclosed material grouped according to certain pre-defined headings:
- Material Referenced in the Report
- By contributor (by the organisation or individual who contributed the material)
- By person involved (those referred to frequently in the Report)
- By organisation involved (those referred to frequently in the Report)
- By date or date range (when documents were created)
- By names of those who died.
For more information, see How do I use browse? (below) and in the Q&A for each browse method.
Q:How do I use Search everything?
Type words or phrases you want to search for into the Search everything box found at the top right of each page.
Search everything matches the text you enter against:
- Titles, Descriptions, Unique IDs, Contributor reference, Folder names and Sub folder names relating to the disclosed material.
- The content of the disclosed documents. To make the content of the documents searchable, we have used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to 'read' the scanned images of document pages and create a text file of the words it recognises. (see What is OCR and how is it used on the site for more information).
- The content of the site's pages (including the Panel's Report).
Search everything does not return information about material that is not available to view on this site (go to the Catalogue page and use Catalogue search instead).
If you wish to search only within the Report, select the Search report only check box. This can be found directly underneath the Search everything box from any page in the Report area of the site.
See Hints and tips using search for advice on using the keyword search.
Q:How do I use Advanced search?
If you can't find what you are looking for when using Browse or search everything, or your search has returned too many results, use Advanced search. Advanced search enables you to tailor and narrow down your search by selecting from a range of criteria.
Advanced search will search the disclosed materials, the website's pages and the Panel's Report (see below for more details). Searches will not include non-disclosed material; this may be found by using Catalogue search instead.
- The keyword search will search the disclosed material, the website's pages and the Panel's Report.
- When you apply the other filters ie The name of those who died, Organisation involved, Person involved, Contributor and Date, it will only search the disclosed material.
Advanced search allows you to filter your search:
- To include all disclosed material or just material referenced in the Report.
- To include or exclude redacted documents (material that has had certain information removed, see What is a redacted document? for more information).
In order to search you need to complete, or make a selection from, at least one of the available fields.
See Hints and tips using search for advice on using the keyword search.
Q:Hints and tips using Search
- Searches should be entered as one or more words or phrases.
- Search is not case sensitive, except for searching on Unique IDs, which must be entered in upper case.
- Only pages that contain ALL of the specified search terms will be returned, so using fewer words or shorter phrases should return more results; alternatively additional words should narrow down the search.
- Search will return matches based on words sharing a common stem ('near to' words) eg if you search for the word 'crowding' the results will include matches for related words such as 'crowded' and 'crowds'.
- Wildcards may be used to substitute a character or characters in your search. An asterisk '*' included within a search term indicates the point at which any number of unspecified characters may appear. A question mark '?'
- Boolean operators may be used. Preceding a search term with the upper case word 'NOT' followed by a space will exclude results containing that term. To include results that match one but not necessarily all of a number of terms, those terms should be separated by spaces and the upper case word 'OR'.
- Where possible, synonyms have been identified for terms with specific relevance to the Disclosure site. For example, a search for 'fan' would also include results that reference 'supporter' or 'spectator'.
- Use double quotes to group two or more words within your search text to enforce the relative position of those words in the search. Due to the way in which synonyms are applied the use of double quotes may exclude results that would otherwise appear to meet the specified criteria, so their use is not always helpful.
- Search results are ordered by relevancy, based on a number of factors including the frequency of occurrences of the entered search terms. Disclosed documents that are, referenced in the Report, will typically be returned towards the top of the search results in which they appear.
Q:How do I use the Catalogue?
The Catalogue contains a list of
- All material considered for disclosure even if that material was not included on this site in the end.
- All contributors who were approached by the Panel and provided material, even if their material did not end up being digitised.
- Contributors whose material was provided to/through another organisation.
The material is ordered in the Catalogue table alphabetically by unique ID. You can filter the results by contributor and/or disclosure status.
Click on the link in the unique ID and you will be taken to another page. The disclosure status will determine which page you get to next:
- If the item has been disclosed on this site you will be taken to a 'document landing page' which provides more information and a link to download the document
- If the item has not been disclosed you will be taken to a 'non-disclosed landing page' providing more information about the item and why it has not been disclosed. If a document has not been disclosed because it has already been received from another contributor, and their copy is on the website, there will be a link to the other 'duplicate' document.
Q:How do I use Catalogue search?
The link to Catalogue search can be found towards the top of the Catalogue page or the via sitemap.
Catalogue search allows you to select options to filter and narrow down your search, over and above the limited filtering available on the Catalogue page itself.
Unlike search everything or advanced search, the following additional information is now available to be included in your search:
- material considered but not ultimately disclosed on this site
Change the option in the Disclosure status pull down list to restrict your search to include only documents that were disclosed on this site, to include only documents that were not disclosed on this site, or to return only documents not disclosed for a specific reason.
To search you need to select at least one of the fields.
The keyword search matches the text against:
- Title, Description, Unique ID, Contributor reference, Folder and Sub-folder names relating to all disclosed and undisclosed material.
- OCR text for each disclosed document (see What is OCR and how is it used on the site for more information).
See Hints and tips using search for advice on using the keyword search.
Q:Why can't I find the material I expected to find?
There may be several reasons why you can't find what you're looking for:
The search term used doesn't come up with any - or the right - results.
Try searching again using a different search term, or using advanced search.
The material may not be available on the website ie it has not been disclosed.
If you cannot find what you are looking for using advanced search then try the catalogue or catalogue search.
The material disclosed has certain names or pieces of information removed from them.
For more information on why and how documents were redacted see the Redaction Framework section of this site.
Other things you may want to consider:
- Could the material have been provided by a different contributor?
- Has the organisation changed its name?
- Have you spelt the person's name correctly?
- Where original documents are hand written, old or in bad condition, the OCR software may not have been able to 'read' the word(s). In this case, search is only able to find the document if the relevant word(s) are also present in the item's title, description, folder name or sub folder name.
- If you know it, try searching for the item via its Unique ID or Contributor reference. This can be done from search everything, advanced search or catalogue search.
The material is audio or video
The Panel has digitised over 100 audio and video tapes, including CCTV and news footage, and has recommended to the Home Secretary that this material is permanently preserved by The National Archives.
Two edited video clips are available in Part 1 of the Panel's report.
Transcripts are available of all relevant audio material.
For further advice on using search, see Hints and tips using search.
Q:How do I use Adobe Reader's search facility to search within documents?
You can use the Adobe Reader search tool to find particular words or phrases in any of the PDF documents on this website.
Open the PDF file
- Go to the document landing page and click on the button to Download the document.
- Save the document onto your computer.
- Open the PDF filed using Adobe Reader.
- Click on 'Ctrl' and then 'F' (or 'Edit' and 'Find'). A small pop-up search box will appear.
- Type in the word or phrases you are looking for.
- Press return.
- Providing Adobe Reader can find word or phrase in the document, you will be taken to the first location where it occurs in the PDF. Click on the next button (small arrow pointing towards the right) to take you to the next place it occurs.
If you wish to conduct an advanced search of the document:
- Click on the tiny down arrow on the right hand side of the search box
- Select Open full Reader search. The full search screen will appear.
- Apply additional criteria or click on Show More Options and then apply more criteria, as required.
In some circumstances Adobe Reader may not find the words in the document, even though they are there. Both Adobe Reader and the website search and browse facilities use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to 'read' the scanned document images and convert them to searchable text, however the market-leading OCR software provided by our scanning service partners will not necessarily give identical results to the built-in OCR that is used for searching within Adobe Reader.
For example, a common problem with OCR of typewritten documents is for spaces between letters to be interpreted as spaces between words: l i k e t h i s. We have been able to correct for this in the website search and browse facilities, but we are not able to correct it in Adobe Reader.
Note: we are currently replacing the PDFs on the website. This is being done in two stages. Stage 1 delivers improved image quality. Stage 2 enables us to take advantage of an upgrade to our supplier's OCR software. This should benefit the areas of our site that use OCR, ie search and some browse methods. We ask you to bear with us during Stage 1, as some documents will suffer a temporary reduction in the quality of the build- OCR that is used for searchin within Adobe Reader.
Q:What is OCR and how is it used on the site?
As part of the process of scanning documents in order to make them available on this website, we used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to 'read' words on the scanned images of pages and create a version of the document in text file format.
This OCR information is used to help find documents when conducting searches and when building the lists of documents returned by some of the browse methods.
Whilst the website is not solely dependent on OCR software to find words and phrases searched for, documents are less likely to appear if the OCR software was unable to recognise the relevant word or phrase eg if they were hand written, or the paper original was in a poor condition.
See also How does Browse find relevant documents? and How do I use search everything?
Q:What is Browse and how does it work?
Browse enables the user to look through disclosed documents that have been selected and grouped in particular ways, for example according to who contributed them, or in what time period they were created.
Browse only presents material that has been made available on this website. To find out about material considered by the Panel but not available on this site use the catalogue or catalogue search.
Browse methods offer you a list of options to select from. The one you select will lead you to a list of documents. When you click on the link to select an option, all browse methods except Browse by contributor and Browse by date will take you straight to the list of documents. When you click on a document's name you will be taken to another page called a document landing page which will provide you with more information and from there you can download the item in question.
For information on how to use Browse by contributor and Browse by date, please see How do I use Browse by contributor and How do I use Browse by date.
Most items attached to the website are in PDF format. Where a PDF file contains a number of pages, you may wish to search within the file. See How do I use Adobe Reader's search facility to search within documents? to find out how to do this.
For further information:
- See How does Browse find the relevant documents.
- Or to learn more about each browse method, see How do I use Browse by organisation, How do I use Browse by contributor, How do I use Browse by date, How do I use Browse by person, How do I use Browse by name of those who died.
Q:How do I use Browse material referenced in the Report?
This browse method allows you to view material that has been quoted from or otherwise referred to in the Report.
- For each chapter of the Report, this browse method lists all the disclosed items referenced in that chapter.
- Whilst it is quite common for a document to be mentioned more than once in a chapter, it is only listed once here.
All documents referenced can be viewed on this site. When you click on a link you will be taken to the document landing page and from there you can download the document.
If you wish to see more detail about how and where a particular item has been referenced in the Report, the details are provided in the footnotes of The Report.
Go to the Report section, select the Search report only box and enter the document's Unique ID in the search bar.
Q:How do I use Browse by contributor?
A contributor is an organisation or individual who shared any documents they held relating to the disaster with the Hillsborough Independent Panel as part of the disclosure process.
The contributor's name that appears in the Browse list is their name at the time they contributed the material. This may be different from their name at the time of the disaster, or when the material was created, for instance because the contributor inherited documents from an organisation that no longer exists, or it may have merged with another organisation causing its name to change. Where we know this has occurred we have included the details in the information appearing under the contributor's name.
Some contributors have provided a few items, some have provided hundreds and others have provided thousands of documents. To make it easier to view the material on this site, the material has been organised into folders and sub-folders. When you click on a contributor's name, one or more folder names will appear. Click on a folder name and you will be provided with a choice of one or more sub-folder names.
Click on a sub-folder and you will be taken to a browse results page listing all the items in that sub-folder.
When you click on any of the document titles you are taken to a document landing page giving more information about the item, from where you can Download the document.
Q:How do I use Browse by person involved?
Go to Browse by person involved to view documents that refer to individuals commonly mentioned in the Report.
Browse by person involved does not include the names of the 96 who died. If you wish to view material referring to the deceased go to Browse by name of those who died.
Each person is referred to using their name and title as they were at the time of the disaster. Where someone has subsequently received an honour or changed their name in any other way, this will not be reflected in the listing.
Q:How do I use Browse by organisation involved?
Browse by organisation involved enables you to view documents that refer to organisations commonly mentioned in the Report.
Note that over time some organisations have changed their names, for instance because they have merged with another organisation. Where we know this has occurred we have included the details in the information appearing under an organisation's name.
Q:How do I use Browse by date or date range?
This browse method allows you to view disclosed material grouped according to the date it was created.
Browse by date or date range enables you to view material created within pre-defined date ranges. If you click on the dates
- some will present a list of documents
- others will give you a series of narrower sub-ranges to select from before then presenting you with a list of documents.
In some cases it has not been possible to determine when a document was produced. In the light of this we have produced a link for undated documents.
Q:How do I use Browse by name of those who died?
This browse method enables you to view disclosed material that refers to one or more of the 96 people who died.
Names are organised alphabetically according to surname. Click on a name to be presented with a list of items.
Q:How does Browse find the relevant documents?
Browse enables the user to look through disclosed material selected and grouped in particular ways.
Each disclosed item has been given a Unique ID and certain information about it has been captured, including:
- Who contributed it
- When it was created (where known)
- Whether the material is referred to in the Report, and if so, in which part(s) of the the Report
- Whether it mentions any of the persons whose names occur frequently in the Report*
- Whether it mentions any of the organisations whose names occur frequently in the Report*
- Whether it includes the names of any of those who died*
The browse method you choose will present materials that have been selected and grouped according to one of these criteria.
For the browse methods indicated with an asterisk above, we have identified which documents reference the organisations, persons and those who died by searching within:
- title and Description of disclosed material
- the content of the documents.
To make the content of the documents searchable, we have used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to 'read' the scanned image and create a text version.
OCR software is not perfect and will not always recognise words correctly, particularly if the original is handwritten, faint, creased or stained. For these reasons some documents will not be found by these browse methods unless the name in question is in the title and/or description.
For Browse by person involved, and Browse by name of those who died, please be aware that the software may identify a document as referring to an individual, when in fact the reference is to somebody else with a similar name.
This is most likely to happen when only the surname and first initial are present, and least likely to happen when there are multiple initials or forenames are expressed in-full.
Documents where there is least confidence in a correct match are presented last in the list of Browse results.
Q:Why hasn't some material been disclosed on this site?
The Panel's aim has always been to provide full disclosure of documentation and the vast majority of material seen and assessed by the Panel is available through this website.
The following are the principal reasons why certain documents have not been disclosed here:
- Duplicate documents. (In which case a link is provided to the other version.)
- Documents which are already in the public domain
- Documents containing extremely sensitive information such as post-mortem reports. Such documents will be made available to families of the deceased on request
- Documents of low relevance to the disaster, including administrative documents
- Documents containing information covered by legal professional privilege
- Documents containing information which public bodies are legally prohibited from disclosing (including information provided in confidence by third parties).
To find more information on material considered for disclosure but not available on this website, go to The Catalogue or Catalogue search and filter on material by disclosure status.
For queries regarding access to material not published on this website, please contact the relevant contributor.
Q:What is a redacted document and why have documents been redacted?
A document has been redacted if any of its content has been removed from public view.
Some redactions are required in order to comply with legislation including the Data Protection Act 1998.
However, at a very early stage in its work the Panel made it very clear to all organisations involved in the disclosure process that redactions must be kept to a minimum and a Redaction Framework setting out the ground rules was established.
During the disclosure process the Panel carried out checks to confirm that redactions, where made, were in accordance with the policies in the Redaction Framework.
Click on this link to view the Redaction Framework and learn more about the types of information that have (or have not) been redacted.
Q:What is Open data and why is it being provided?
Datasets held by public bodies become 'Open data' when made available to the public to download for their own analysis and use.
In this spirit we are providing access to information available in The Catalogue in a format that enables people to download and analyse the information more thoroughly.
We hope that this enables people to find other ways of exploring and understanding the material that exists.
The Open data facility provides ultimate flexibility in filtering and sorting the information about the items in the Catalogue.
The information provided about each item is the same as that available in the Catalogue and document landing pages.
Further information, including a link to the downloadable dataset files, can be found on our Open data pages.
Q:How do I play the video files on this site?
The player used on this site to run video files is JW Player. It is very simple to use and works with a wide range of browsers and operating systems. To find out more go to About the JW Player.
In order to play a video, click on the 'play' button in the middle of the screen.
To make the video screen bigger, use the 'arrow' button at the bottom right of video player.
To change the volume, drag the 'sound' buttons at the bottom of the video screen.
Video files have a description or transcript for users who are visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing.