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Archives and Special Collections

Description and policies of TIU's Archer Archives, which includes various holdings and special collections

User Guide

The Evangelical Free Church of America has partnered with Trinity International University’s Rolfing Library and joined the growing number of libraries across the nation in creating our own Digital Collections program. Rolfing and the EFCA digitize books, magazines, and photographs (among others), allowing you to browse, download, and share them from any computer or tablet. The easiest way to access our collections is at or directly at

What are Digital Collections?

Digital Collections are repositories of material that have been digitized by a library or institution for wider consumption. They may include archival manuscripts, newspapers, photographs, books, or more. Trinity and the EFCA have decided that their collections will showcase the intellectual, theological, and historical legacy of the Evangelical Free Church of America and the history of Trinity.

These collections are hosted through the Consortium of Academic Research Libraries of Illinois (CARLI). Their website hosts hundreds of free collections from colleges and institutions across the state, covering nearly every discipline and subject matter. You can browse CARLI’s general collections here.

Some of our available collections are:

  • Books covering Evangelical Free Church history, theology, missionary work, and more
  • The former official magazine of the Free Church, the Evangelical Beacon
  • Historic photographs of Free Church leaders, conferences, and more
  • Official published directories of the EFCA
  • The Swedish publication Chicago-Bladet, the original publication of the Swedish Evangelical Free Churche
  • The Norwegian language publication Evangelisten, the original publication of the Norwegian/Danish Evangelical Free Churches
  • Pursuit Magazine
  • EFCA Ministerial Forum
  • Young People's Messenger
  • Folke-Vennen
  • Missionstidningen

Home Page:

The homepage provides a brief introduction to the content and scope of the collection. There are a few features here that allow you to quickly and easily access all or parts of the collection.

A sample view of a digital collection’s homepage.


Browse All Items in the Collection:

Clicking the "Browse collection" button underneath the collection title immediately displays all items currently in the collection. 

Search and Advanced Search:

These can be helpful in finding a specific term or word in the collection. However, it should be noted that the commonality of some words or names (e.g. Olson, Free Church) means that you run the risk of generating a lot of unrelated search results. In general, the more precise you are in your search terms, the more likely you will find what you are looking for. Putting names or institutions in quotations and using multiple search criteria (e.g. “First Free Church” AND “Rockford, Illinois”) can help in narrowing down the search results. The search works with Boolean operators, e.g. AND, OR, and NOT. In the upper right corner of the site, you will see the search box. Click on it and search with single-word terms.

A better way is to click on the "Advanced Search" just below it. Uncheck "Select All Collections" because these are collections from many universities and denominations. Scroll down near the bottom to the collections related to Trinity. The collections are in order by institutional name, so you will find the EFCA collections under Trinity listed together about 3/4 of the way down the page.  


Choose those of interest to you - for example, Evangelical Beacon and the Collection of Free Church Literature. Save your selections. Then you can enter your search term/s. For the best results, be specific as you would like. You can include several words in the search (e.g. "VBA, DVBS, Vacation Bible School"). The lower box gives you options like "All the Words," "Any of the Words," etc. 

This will bring up all the items that contain the words you want. From there, you will click on each issue or item again and enter one of the terms again to see what they published on that particular issue.

You will likely have to take the time to do multiple searches unless you are doing a very specific search, such as "Confirmation Grace Amarillo."

Search by X:

These specialized criteria will display and organize material based on the term selected: e.g., “Search by Author” will display all the works in the collection attributed to that author.

Each collection has its own specialized search criteria (whether it’s search by Year, or search by Author).

Back to CARLI digital collections:

This will bring you back to CARLI’s home page. See “Moving between Collections” below.

Browse Collection and Search Feature

At the Browse Collection page, you will see a few options to sort the collection. Depending on the Collection, you can search by Author, Topic, Publisher, Language, Genre, Year, Decade, or by Volume if these are known. "Display Options" and "Save to Favorites" are options for changing how the results are displayed. You can display objects as a gird, a list, or more. Saving to favorites alls you to save objects for later browsing.  


Clicking on an object afterward should immediately bring you to where the software believes it has found the search term.

Once you have the document, it may be easier to click on the double arrow icon to expand results: 



 Items searched will  then show up with highlights:


In a book, clicking on the object's search bar and entering the word/s you seek will allow you to go from one instance of the word or phrase to the next. In a PDF, clicking on the magnifying glass inside the PDF viewer itself will allow you to enter the term and move from match to match. 

In a book you will see that there is the picture of the page above and the transcript of it below. Sometimes the searched term will be highlighted in the transcript as well: 


Browse an Object

Within a collection, you can choose an object to read or even download. For example, in the Collection of EFCA Literature, you can click on one of the books:


After selecting an item to browse, you will be brought to a new screen offering various ways to read and interact with the object. Below the object will be a list of relevant data pertaining to the object (metadata such as author, year, publisher, etc.). On each side of the object is a small arrow "< or >" to scroll through the pages. on the right is an overall index of the book with chapter indicators and pages that you can open. On the upper right are three icons. One will let you "save" the book, one will let you download it onto your computer, and one will allow you to print the book or the pages you select. If you want only certain pages, choose them and note the page number below the book. PLEASE NOTE - this is NOT the page number on the book, because the book scan counts every page, including the covers and title pages, in the page count. In the example below, you would want to print page 20, not page 16: 



If the object is a book or photograph, and not a PDF, you can move it around the screen by clicking and holding on the page and dragging it. By dragging up or down the small gray rectangle underneath an object, you can change the size of the viewing window. 

Above the display window there are several options for you:


You can zoom in or out of the document either by clicking + or -, sliding the blue square back and forth, or clicking on a space in the yellow bar itself.


Clicking this on the lower left will make the document take up the entire window, showing it above the text transcription of the document (when available).

Rotate Clockwise or Counterclockwise:

Clicking these rotates the page or image appropriately.

Above the Object Viewer are several more display features.

Search This Record

"Search this Record" will attempt to locate and highlight words or phrases within the document. Sometimes the search feature works best while viewing the object as Text and not Image. 


View Image and Text:

Like clicking on the "Full Browser" option, this will simultaneously display the scanned page and the transcription side by side.



This download button offers multiple download options for downloading either a single page or image or the entire object as a PDF:


To download the entire object, click the "Print" icon on the right upper corner of the page, choose "All," and then click the download arrow icon on the next screen. Choose where you want it downloaded and click it. Here is a short video on this technique:

If you want only a few pages, select "This Item" on the Print button, choose which pages you would like to download, and then choose "PDF" to download or "Print" to print off a physical copy. 

Thumbnails and Content:

Located to the right of an object, this window shows the pages and structure of a book. By default they are set to Thumbnails, which displays a preview image of each page. Clicking on a thumbnail will bring you to that page.

Clicking on the “Contents” tab will switch to revealing the structure of the book. This can be used to locate chapters or sections of a book you are interested in, and is a very useful and powerful feature of the Digital Collections.

Moving Between Collections


If you are working in one collection and want to move to another, there are a few ways to do so. An easy way would be to have different collections open in different tabs on your browser of choice. CARLI allows you to find collections through its homepage.

If you are at a collection, clicking the “Back to CARLI Collections” tab at the top of the page will bring you to the Trinity/EFCA digital collections homepage:

If you have questions about the CARLI collections site in general or the EFCA/TIU digital collections specifically, please contact