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Text versions of Help videos - Essential functions

If you are unable to view our online training videos, to help you use Explore the British Library, you may find these text versions useful. Alternatively, try our Adobe PDF files.

Some of the information is intended just for British Library Reader Pass holders (or registered document supply customers).

Comments are welcome and will be used to improve the help supplied.

Log in

- Please make sure that you have either upgraded your reader account or merged it with your British Library Online Account. Follow the steps in the appropriate instructions.

- The log in area is on top right-hand corner of the screen.

- Click on Log in.

- Log in using your British Library Online Account username and password.

- Enter your British Library Online Account username in the first text box.

- Then in enter the British Library Online Account password you have previously chosen in the lower text box.

- Click on Login to gain access to the catalogue.

- When you have logged in, you will be taken back to the home page ready to start searching.

- Your name will be displayed at the top of the screen.

Simple Search

- Click the mouse in the search box.

- Enter a word or phrase in the search box.

- Type your query word(s) in the search box, e.g., shakespeare hamlet.

- Click on Search to carry out the search.

- The results list is then displayed.

- Explore the British Library contains 1191 items with the words shakespeare and hamlet in their records.

- Use the mouse to scroll through results lower down on the page.

- Click on Details to view an item's full catalogue record.

- The full record of the item is displayed in a window.

- Use the mouse to scroll through all details of the item's record.

- Additional Information is also available for many items.

- Clicking on Additional Information opens a new window.

- Click, e.g., on Table of Contents to display the item's content headings.

- Click on Close to close this window.

- Click on the close button of the Details window to continue viewing the results list.

- Use the mouse to scroll through results lower down on the page.

- Click on Next to view further pages of results.


- If you have carried out a broad search then you will probably have a large number of items in your results list.

- You can manage your results using the Refine my results functions.

- E.g., enter drama in the search box and click on Search.

- In order to reduce the number of items in your results list click on one of the Refine my results options on the left.

- Click on, e.g., Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 as Author/Contributor.

- The refinement is displayed above the results list.

- The number of results has now been reduced.

- To reduce the number of results further add another refinement.

- Click on Refine further to reduce the number of results by including or excluding refinements.

- Click on the required refinement option(s) in order to reduce the number of results.

- Click on, e.g., include Shelved in Reading Room.

- Click on, e.g., include Online Reading Room only.

- Click on Continue.

- If a particular refinement is no longer necessary click on the X (to its right) to remove it.

- Repeat this process if necessary.