Special Collections & Archives

Search or browse Special Collections


Search tips

These FAQs help you get the most out of searching our database and LibrarySearch.

What can I find through the collections search and what's in LibrarySearch?

Books, manuscripts and pamplets (ie anything book-shaped) are usually included in LibrarySearch. Anything else, eg photographs, playbills, letters, etc, is catalogued on the Special Collections database (MODES) and can be found via the search options under 'Search or browse'.

This only goes for material that has been catalogued. Some uncatalogued material is listed on web pages, for example the CP Davies Collection of Mills and Milling. If a collection is uncatalogued but you think it may contain material that interests you, please contact us to enquire.

Search by collection area or search all collections – what’s the difference?

Either will work, but if you choose a specific collection area, eg 'Search mill collections', the records are displayed in a way that is more tailored to the material.

What should I put in the search box?

Enter the exact word or phrase you are looking for and then click add term. You can then enter another term and click add term again.

The search does not work like a google search box - it can't combine search terms. For example, you can enter 'drama', 'opera', 'poster', 'playbill', 'farce' successively and get 17 hits. But if you enter them all at once your search will return no results.

What are 'filters' and how do they work?

The links you see on the search pages are filters, also known as facets. They allow you to drill down into the categories.

Every filter you click on is added to the ones you have already chosen; it narrows your search further. You can widen your search again by removing one of your filters.

As well as narrowing your results, the filters provide a summary of your results by showing how many items are associated with the remaining categories. Eg 'photograph (82)' means there are 82 items that are categorised as photographs.

What does the 'Collection' filter do?

It shows you how many items belong to that collection and allows you to browse its content. Some items belong to more than one collection, eg 'Boucicault Collections' includes the 'Fawkes Boucicault Collection'.

It can be a good idea to do a search as well. For example, a search for 'boucicault' finds items in several other collections, eg the Melville Collection or the Playbill Collection.

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Last Updated: 14/08/2017