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Order/View items found in a search of the 'Main catalogue'

Explore Further

Do I need to log in?

Guest users do not log in. You need only log in if you are a registered Reader, or registered customer of our document supply services, wanting to order items from the 'Main catalogue'.

How do I search for ISSNs/ISBNs?

Enter the ISSN or ISBN in the search box and click 'Search'.

To search for an ISBN we recommend that you enter the number without hyphens.

To search for an ISSN we recommend that you enter the number with the hyphen. Note that if you omit the hyphen you will find journal records that match the ISSN but you will not find matching article records.

How do I search by date range?

You can use a wild card to search for a decade or century:

Enter 176? To search for items published between 1760 and 1769
Enter 17?? To search for items published between 1700 and 1799

To search for items published between a range of years spanning more than a decade, search for each decade within the range you require and combine with decades with OR:

Enter 176? OR 177? OR 178? To search for items published between 1760 and 1789 (OR must be entered in capital letters; you need to search for each decade within the range you require)

How do I search for shelfmarks?

If you are sure of the punctuation used, you can include it in your search:
X989/5108
YK.2003.b.4785

If you're not sure, exclude all punctuation:
X9895108
YK2003b4785

Don't "mix and match" punctuation and spaces: no results will be found, e.g. not
X 989/5108 or YK 2003.b4785.
If in doubt, use the wildcards ? or *.

For shelfmarks with brackets and hyphens, e.g. (P) NX 099 (M) -E(8) include the following punctuation:

  • The initial brackets
  • The final brackets (if searching for a specific item)

BUT exclude all spaces and the hyphen.

For example: (p)nx099(m)e(8) will find the item, whereas(p)nx009(m) (with or without the * wildcard) will return all records with shelfmarks which start like this.

For Science shelfmarks in the Dewey sequence, include the initial brackets (as above) and make sure you include the decimal point in the number, e.g. (b)004.6

You can also search on elements of a Science shelfmark, by enclosing it in quotation marks, for example:"BW 87", " EX 39".

What records will I find with a search of the 'Main catalogue'?

You will find records for the Library's collections of printed items, online legal deposit items and our online subscribed content.

You should search in the 'Main catalogue if you are a:

  • Registered Reader wanting to order printed items to a reading room.
  • Registered customer of our document supply services and want to order copies to your home/office.
  • Guest user and want to order copies of items for delivery to your home/office.

What records will I find with a search of Explore Further?

You will find records for millions of scholarly ejournal articles and ebooks. Much of the content is 'open access' and freely available to all.

How do I search for titles using the 'Starts with' facility in Advanced search?

If using Advanced search to find a Title, using the 'Starts with' facility' you must enter your search term(s) in lower case.

How do I see the full bibliographic details?

Having found the item you are interested in, click on the 'Details' tab.

How do I print/save/email records?

Having found the item you are interested in:

  • Click on the 'Details' tab
  • Click 'Send to' in the top right-hand corner of the tab
  • Click either E-mail/Print or one of the Social bookmarking sites to save the record.

You can also email/print/save records from My Workspace. My workspace allows you to email/print/save more than one record at a time; more information is available on our website.

How do I add records to My workspace?

To add one record, click on the star alongside the brief details in the results list; the star turns orange once the item has been added.
Alternatively, click the 'Details' tab, then 'Send' to in the top right-hand corner of the tab and choose 'Add to My workspace'.

To add all the records displayed on one page of results, click the 'Add results page to My workspace' link above the refinements, to the left of your results.

How are my results sorted and can I change the sort?

Results are sorted by relevance but there are other sort options available to you:

  • Date-newest
  • Date-oldest
  • Title
  • Author

To change the order in which you results are sorted, click the down arrow at
the side of 'Sorted by: relevance', which appears just above your results, and click to select another sort.

NB: Sorts are ‘sticky’; if you have chosen to resort your results by title, for example, when you carry out your next search this too will be sorted by title unless you reselect a different sort.

How do I see the holdings for a particular record?

Brief details of our holdings can be seen in the Details tab where, for journals and books in series, you will normally find the information in the 'Holdings Notes'.

For example, the journal 'Health Education Quarterly' has Holdings Notes:

Document Supply 4275.011400 VOL. 7, 1980- 9(4), 1982 ; 11, 1984- 23, 1996
General Reference Collection ZK.9.a.767 Vol. 21, no. 1 (1994); v. 22, no. 3 (1995)-v. 23, no. 4 (Nov. 1996)

This means we hold copies:

  • In our Document Supply Collection we hold:
    • vol. 7, 1980 up to vol. 9, issue 4 1982
    • vol. 11, 1984 up to vol. 23 1996
  • And in our General Reference Collection we hold:
    • vol. 21, issue 1, 1994
    • vol. 22, issue 3, 1995 up to vol. 23, issue 4, 1996.

More detailed holdings information is available as part of the ordering process:

How do I order/view items?

The order/view options available depend on the type of material and whether you are registered for any of our services. Brief details of how to order/view items follows; more detailed information is available on our website.

Online items

Explore the British Library contains records for many items that can be viewed online, including:

  • Ejournals (most subscribed; some freely available)
  • Ebooks (most subscribed; some freely available)
  • Databases (most subscribed; some freely available)
  • Thesis
  • Websites archived by the British Library (some legally deposited; some freely available)
  • EU Documents
  • Books digitised by Google or Microsoft
  • Research datasets

Legally deposited and subscribed online content can only be viewed by registered Readers on Library PCs in our Reading Rooms; all other online content is available to anyone, anywhere.

Printed items (e.g. books, journals, maps, scores)

The main catalogue includes records for millions of printed items.

Guest users and customers of our document supply services can order copies of some printed items, for delivery to home or office.

Registered Readers can order printed items to view in a reading room.

Articles

Guest users and customers of our document supply services can order copies of some articles, for delivery to home or office.

Registered Readers can view some articles online and order the journal title to view other articles in a reading room.

How to order printed items and articles as a guest user

Guest users can order copies, subject to copyright, of some printed items - or parts of these items - but cannot request loans.

You can only order copies of items in the remote supply collection. To restrict your search to remote supply items, click the drop-down arrow to the right of 'Everything in this catalogue' and select Remote Supply.

Having searched for and found the item you are interested in:

  • Click the 'I want this' tab
  • Select the 2nd option to 'Deliver item to: My home or office' and click the 'Go' button.

A new browser window will open, displaying the item’s details in our Document SUpply Service. To complete the ordering process follow the on-screen help; more information on ordering is available on our website.

NB: To order copies of printed items found in Explore the British Library you must
have a British Library Online Account registered for document supply services. Even if you are registered

  • With our Box Office
  • For our Management and Business Studies (MBS) Portal

and have a British Library Online Account you must also register for a document supply account until further system changes are implemented. You can register online for our document supply services.

How to I order/view printed items and articles as a registered Reader?

Printed items

If you want to order a printed item to a reading room, you must first log in.

Note: If you want to order printed items to your home or office you should not log in, you must order as a guest.

Having found the item you are interested in:

  • Click the 'I want this' tab
  • Click the 'Go' button to 'Deliver item to the Library's Reading Rooms'.

A new browser window will open, displaying brief bibliographic details for the item. Below this, for each copy of the item we hold, are the:

  • Shelfmark
  • Availability
  • Delivery time

and a 'Select' button, alongside each copy. Below these details are two
buttons:

  • Request for today
  • Add to basket

To complete the requesting process follow the on-screen help; more information on requesting is available on our website.

Articles

Explore the British Library contains records for:

  • Articles found in our top 20K most requested printed journals
  • Legally deposited journal articles

Articles found in our top 20K most requested printed journals can be identified by the presence of a UNI begriming ETOC..., seen at the foot of the bibliographic information in the 'Details' tab. The order/view options for these records vary from article to article; you will see one or more of the following services:

  • View online options where we subscribe to the electronic item.
    NB: The online item only be viewed on Library PCs in our Reading Rooms
  • Search for title records to order item; use this if you want to order the item to a reading room.
  • Deliver item to my home or office.

The order/view options for legally deposited journal articles vary from article to article:

  • View online the legal deposit content
  • View online options where we subscribe to the electronic item.
    NB: Both legally deposited and subscribed online content can only be viewed on Library PCs in our Reading Rooms.

How to order printed items and articles as a registered document supply customer

Customer registered for our document supply services can only order copies of items in the remote supply collection. To restrict your search to remote supply items, click the drop-down arrow to the right of 'Everything in this catalogue' and select Remote Supply.

Organisations registered for our document supply services may also order loans of items. Loans are not available to individual document supply customers.

Having searched for and found the item you are interested in:

  • Click the 'I want this' tab
  • Select the 2nd option to 'Deliver item to: My home or office' and click the 'Go' button.

A new browser window will open, displaying the item’s details in our Document SUpply Service. To complete the ordering process follow the on-screen help; more information on ordering is available on our website.

 How do I order items if I have a technical problem when I try to use the catalogue?

You can contact our Customer Services team who will order on your behalf. Customer Services are open: Monday - Friday 08.30-17.00 and Saturday 10.00-16.00

Guest and customers of our document supply services, contact:

Registered Readers, contact:

Note that Explore the British Library requires that your browser:

What is 'Explore Further'?

'Explore Further' is the British Library's name for Primo Central. Explore Further contains over 200 million records for online scholarly materials such as articles and e-books, provided by publishers.

Much of the content is freely available online and accessible to all. Some content requires a subscription; where the Library subscribes to this content it will only be available to the Library's registered Readers, using the PCs in our reading rooms.

What's not in 'Explore Further'?

Generally speaking, records for the Library's printed and online content are not included in 'Explore Further'. The one exception to this is records for etheses.

How do I view items found in 'Explore Further'?

You should first look in the 'Details' tab, where the link is most often seen in the 'Link's panel on the right-hand side of the tab. The link may be 'View record' but this record may include a link to the full text.

Most of the time, the 'I want this' tab will display a 'No access' message. Occasionally, the 'I want this' tab will provide a 'view online' link to:

  • Content freely available to all
  • Subscribed content, only available to registered Readers using the Library PCs in our Reading Rooms.

Why do I sometimes see a list of articles in the 'I want this' tab?

We've switched on a 'recommender' service (known as bX) that helps you to discover relevant literature you might not have found otherwise.

Based on usage, the service checks what other articles were consulted by researchers that viewed the article you're looking at; and displays a list of 'recommended' articles. These articles may be from different journals/books and publishers.

If an article is linked, it usually indicates that the Library has access to that article. Access may, however, be restricted to registered Readers using the Library PCs in our Reading Rooms.

Why is there sometimes a fourth 'Times cited' tab?

This tab appears if an article has been cited and appears in either Scopus or Web of Science (abstract and citation databases of peer-reviewed literature).