Simple search

You can search a keyword, phrase or reference number using the search box at the top of the page. This will return search results with the records displayed in order of the most relevant first. Search for an exact phrase by using quotation marks, e.g. “Bertha Broadwood”. Use an asterisk * to represent any letters you’re uncertain of, or if you want to search both singular and plural terms. For example: ‘horse*’ will bring up results for ‘horse’ and ‘horses’. You can’t start a search term with an asterisk (e.g. ‘*urrey’ will not find anything). Use an asterisk * to search for all the records in a collection e.g. “2572/*”.

Filtering the results

The results page displays basic information about each record and a thumbnail image where available. Item level records from the catalogue can be ordered for research. You can sort the results further using the filter tool on the left hand side. Results can be sorted by year date ascending or descending, and filtered by ‘images only’ or by ‘dataset’. You can also filter by ‘subject’, ‘places’ or ‘format’ but please be aware that not all records will have been tagged, so, for example, if you filter your results to ‘Guildford’, this will exclude any records that have not been tagged by place. Search results will show both shop items and records from the collections. To restrict your results only to Records from the collections, de-select the Pages and shop filter. 

Advanced search

The advanced search (next to the search bar) allows you to select a search type (all of the words, any of the words, exact phrase or proximity). You can also search by entering a document reference (identifier) in the Search for or within SHC catalogue reference box. This search box is case sensitive so, for example, QS1* will produce results but qs1* will not. There is a further option to search a specific year range for entries (e.g. 1750 – 1790). If you want to browse a particular collection without keywords, you can enter the number in the Search for or within SHC catalogue reference box, e.g. 9524*, but you will also need to enter *.* in the main search box.

Viewing the results

From the results page, you can select a record to view by clicking on the Full Description button. The Details tab will give you the description and its position in the catalogue hierarchy. You can also browse the collection the record forms a part of by selecting the Browse this Collection tab. This may help you to find related items which are of interest to you. You can click on the Jump to this document in the hierarchy link which will take you to the item you selected and which will be highlighted in bold. If you hover your mouse over the items in the hierarchy, you will be able to read the full description. To return, to the original item, click on the Details tab.

Requesting digital copies of records

Many of the items in our photographic and illustration collections have been digitised and, where they have, an image will appear in the search results. If you wish to order a digital copy, click on the Full Description button, then select the Research and Copying Services tab. Click on the Request this item through the copying service button, select a copying option and click on the Add to cart button. Click on the View cart button and then the Proceed to checkout button to make your payment. To request a quote for a digital copy or copies of a record that has not already been digitised, please click on the Research and copying services link on the home page. When you receive a quote from us, it will include payment instructions.