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Explore the British Library - FAQs

Why couldn't you leave the Integrated Catalogue running in parallel to Explore the British Library?
The Integrated Catalogue was introduced in 2004, and, at the time, was an improvement on its predecessors. Similarly, Explore the British Library is an improvement on the Integrated Catalogue, not only because it allows you to search much more of the collections using one search - it contains nearly 60 million records, compared to 14 million in the Integrated Catalogue but searching is much easier. It would not be an efficient use of the Library's resources to maintain both services.

I had items stored in My Folder in the Integrated Catalogue. What has happened to these items when access was withdrawn?
All information stored in My Folder, in the Integrated Catalogue, was captured by our system supplier when the Integrated Catalogue was withdrawn. The supplier is working to transfer this data to your workspace in Explore the British Library.

Can I save item into a folder as I did with the Integrated Catalogue?
Yes, click on the star to the side of an item in the results list and it will be added to the main folder in My workspace. Please note that to retain items for future sessions, you will first need to login to Explore the British Library before you save the records. If you do not log in records will only be stored for that session.

You will be able to organise items in My Workspace into folders, and add notes to them. You will be able to push records to social networking sites and you can order items to the reading rooms directly from the My Workspace area.

Please note: information is only saved in My Workspace whilst you have a valid reader pass. If you do not renew your pass before it expires, the data you have saved in My Workspace will be deleted.

I often used the Integrated Catalogue to look at the MARC coding of a record. Will I be able to do this in Explore the British Library?
Yes, you can see the MARC coding in Explore the British Library. Where a MARC record is available a link to the MARC can be seen within the 'Details' tab; links to the 'Details' tab are provided on your results list.

I found the process for ordering items into the reading rooms long and laborious in the Integrated Catalogue. Is this improved in Explore the British Library?
Currently, the ordering process is very similar to that in the Integrated Catalogue: you need to add items to a Reservation List, then complete the ordering process from there.

In the longer term, we are going to be revisiting the ordering process, so you may well see improvements in the future.

I used the Integrated Catalogue to order manuscripts. Can I use Explore the British Library to do?
Yes, you can order manuscripts via Explore the British Library, in a process very similar to the current one. More information is available on our website.

I've tried using Explore the British Library, and I can't search for ISBNs.
ISBNs are indexed and searchable. Just enter the number into the search box and click on Go. You do not need to specify that you're searching for an ISBN.

I browsed for shelfmarks in the Integrated Catalogue. Can I do this in Explore the British Library?
There is no browse facility in Explore the British Library. Shelfmark searching, however, is much easier. You will find more information on this topic in Explore the British Library's Help.

I'm only interested in searching for newspaper items stored at Colindale. How can I do this in Explore the British Library?
You can either do a simple search, then refine by material type: newspapers, or, you can choose to search just the Newspaper Library records.

I used the Integrated Catalogue to access the Register of Preservation Surrogates. How do I find microfilm shelfmarks?
You can access the Register of Preservation Surrogates via a link from Explore the British Library's home page. Or you can bookmark the new link to the Register of Preservation Surrogates:

Is it easy to find online resources using Explore the British Library?
It is easy to find and view electronic resources using Explore the British Library. You can search by journal, article or database title. Please note: due to licensing restrictions, subscribed resources can only be viewed on Library PCs in the reading rooms, but other resources, including theses, research datasets and archived websites, can be viewed on your laptop or home PC.

Explore the British Library doesn't let me do date range searches!
In Advanced search, you can specify year of publication as a search term. You can also use wildcards to broaden your search to decades. More information is available on this topic in Explore the British Library's Help.

If your question is not covered here, please view our online Help or contact us using the Feedback links within Explore the British Library.