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Searching the catalogue

Quick search

This is a simple keyword search which searches text within the record. Any text of two characters or more can be searched. Words can be truncated to a minimum of three characters using the * sign. For example, herb* will retrieve records which include the words herbal, herbarium, herbarz, herbario, etc.
Phrases or adjacent words may be searched if they are enclosed in double quote marks.
Boolean logic is used automatically: if more than one search term is entered it is interpreted as a Boolean ‘and’ search. For example, explicatio plantarum will retrieve any record with both these terms in the record. A Boolean ‘or’ search can be performed, for example stone or gravel. Boolean ‘not’ searches can be performed using the minus sign, for example stone –gravel. Brackets may be used, for example (stone gravel) or lithot*. However such searches must be carefully phrased to avoid retrieving irrelevant material.

Searches are not case-sensitive. For this reason, searches for Sloane numbers or library shelfmarks are not effective in Quick Search. The relevant search boxes in Advanced Search should be used.

Advanced search

Sloane No.

A single Sloane number can be searched here. The search is case-sensitive, and can be truncated, but Boolean logic is not applied. Example: a 132, a 134* . Roman numerals in Sloane numbers must be entered in upper case.


A search of text within the record, as in Quick Search.


Most of the shelfmarks are from the British Library, but shelfmarks from all holding libraries can be searched. Although it is possible to truncate some parts of shelfmarks the procedure is complex, and it is preferable to use a shelfmark range search. Examples: 545.a.* is a viable search, but 545.a.1* is not. However, C* is possible, and will retrieve all British Library ‘case’ books in the catalogue.

Held by

A dropdown menu lists libraries holding Sloane books in the catalogue.


Author headings are generally the same as those in the British Library Integrated Catalogue. Any part of the name may be searched, and searches may be truncated. The search is not case-sensitive. Examples: Locke, Lock*, lock*

Book title

Search by word or phrase, as in Quick Search. The search is not case-sensitive, and may be truncated.

Expanded search options: click to display further search options

Publication date

For a single publication date, enter the same date in both boxes. For any date later than the specified date, enter that date in the first box: for any date before the specified date, enter that date in the second box. For a range of dates, enter the start date and finish date in the two boxes. Examples: enter 1750 in the first box to retrieve all items dated 1750 or later; enter 1500 in the second box to retrieve all items dated 1500 or earlier; enter 1686 in the first box and 1696 in the second box to retrieve all items published between and including these dates; enter 1650 in both boxes to retrieve items published in 1650.

Publication place

A dropdown menu lists places of publication in the modern form of name. The contemporary form of name as used in the publication can be searched as a keyword.

Previous owner

A dropdown menu lists the names of previous owners of Sloane books, in the standardised form of their name. Other name forms can be retrieved using a keyword search.


A dropdown menu lists the source which identifies each item as Sloane’s.

Purchase date

These dates are derived from Sloane’s purchase codes, and can be searched in the same way as the publication date.

Purchase place

A dropdown menu lists places of purchase derived from Sloane’s manuscript notes. This information appears only in a relatively small number of records.

Book binding

A drop down menu lists the types of binding found on Sloane’s books. This information is not available for all items.

Book condition

A dropdown menu lists four levels of condition. Not all items have a condition assessment.


A dropdown menu lists genres used in the catalogue. Further genres may be added during the course of the project.


A range search can be used to identify Sloane items in a particular location or broad subject category. The ranges are entered similarly to a publication date range search. Examples: search 529 to 549 retrieves a large number of items with British Library shelfmarks between 529.a.1 and 549.m.5, and because of the broad subject classification used, these are primarily medical works.

Sloane No.

A range search on Sloane numbers can be used to identify books in Sloane number order. Example: f 1 to f 7000 retrieves all Sloane books in the catalogue within this range, which can then be sorted by Sloane number to recreate Sloane’s shelf order. The search is case-sensitive, which is important, given that letters appear in upper or lower case sequences according to the size of the book. Example: F 1 to F 7000. If the search is intended to include all items with a particular letter, the upper end of the selected range should be set high in order to include all possible numbers. Even though most of Sloane’s letter sequences do not run higher than a few hundred, some do run to higher than 6000.

Books inscribed Bibliothecae Sloanianae

Ticking this box will retrieve all items which bear this form of inscription. It can be combined with other searches.

Record status

Records may be definite or probable, according to the source of identification.

Sorting results

The search results can be sorted by shelfmark or Sloane number. It should be noted that if an item does not have a Sloane number, for example if it has another form of identification, it will not appear when the search is sorted by Sloane number. It will be included if the results are sorted by shelfmark. If an item has more than one Sloane number, it will appear more than once in results sorted by Sloane number.

Starting a new search

Use the ‘reset’ button to clear the previous search before starting a new one.

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