Browsing this catalogue

The Catalogue Descriptions on this site are organised into groups called 'Series' or 'Fonds'. Some of the groups are organised according to the format of the items, for example, Photographs, Oral History Recordings and the Coin Collection; some are organised according to the individual or organisation that created and/or accumulated the records, for example Westminster School Society Papers or Governing Body Papers; finally some are organised according to the function or activity to which they relate, for example Events, Examinations, Societies and Extra Curricular Groups.

In addition to the Catalogue Descriptions it is also possible to browse by the following categories:

People & Organisations: Search via the individuals or organisations who created and/or collected the items in our collection or are the subject of an item. Subjects: These controlled vocabulary terms will help you to find all of the catalogue descriptions which relate to a particular keyword. We are building this vocabulary all the time, so if there is a term that you would find useful please let us know. Places: Find records associated with a specific place. Digital Objects: It is possible to look purely at Catalogue Descriptions with a digital object associated with them and there is a further filter which allows you to look just at images. Genre: Many of our Catalogue Descriptions are classified by genre, so it is possible to look at all of the portraits, or all of the coins. This option is available via the advanced search facility.

How to carry out a basic search

You can find the basic search box in the grey bar at the top of the screen.

Simply click in the search box and start typing in your search terms. It doesn't matter whether your search terms are in upper or lower case, both will produce the same results.

The search facility includes a helpful auto-suggest feature. As you start typing, suggestions from our catalogue will appear. Click on the one that is of interest to you, or continue typing and press enter on your keyboard (or click the magnifying glass next to the search box) to see a list of archival descriptions that relate to your search term.

If your search is successful you will see a list of results and, on the left side of the screen, a number of categories which allow you to filter your results. These can be helpful if you are faced with a large number of results. Scroll down to see all of the categories (including place and keyword).

If you have too many results in your results list (and not all of them appear to be immediately relevant to you), have a look at the search tips below or try an advanced search within specific fields in the catalogue.

Search tips

Searching for an exact phrase: Use double quotes to search for an exact phrase. For example search for “Richard Busby” instead of Richard Busby. This will ensure that the search only returns results that contain the exact phrase.

Searching for any occurrence of more than one word: Use OR to ensure your search picks up any occurrence of the words you are searching for. If you search for football OR cricket the search will return any results that mention the word football or the word cricket. Otherwise your results will only include records that mention both football and cricket. Note that OR needs to be in capital letters.

Excluding search terms: Use NOT to exclude records that contain a particular word or phrase. For example, search for Latin NOT play if you want to find records that mention Latin but exclude those records that mention the Latin Play. Note that NOT needs to be in capital letters.

Allowing for different spellings or plurals: Use the wildcards asterisk or ? to search for words that may be written in singular or plural or that may have different spellings. For example if you want to find out about sports that are mentioned within the archives, search for sport*. This will return results that begin with 'sport' but also include sports, sporting or sportsman. If you want to find information about The Greaze but want to allow for different spellings, you could search for Grea?e and this would pick up results for Greaze and Grease. The asterisk can be used to find matches for zero to many characters and the ? can be used as a wildcard for a single character.

How to carry out an advanced search

An advanced search option is available and can be accessed by clicking in the basic search box.

The advanced search allows you to identify specific fields to search for your keywords or phrases. For example, you may find it useful to search just the title or scope and content field for a particular word or phrase.

You may build up quite complex queries using the advanced search page and can use AND, OR and NOT operators to add further criteria to your search.