There are two main ways to search the catalogue, simple and advanced search.


For quick results, simply type your search term into the ‘Google-style’ search box at the top right of the page. This will search across all our records in all our repositories for the word or words you enter.


If you wish to limit your search in some way, for example by searching only those records held at a particular repository, then please use Advanced Search instead.


Advanced search

This enables you to perform more precise searches and to choose which fields to search in. In the advanced search you are able to search in the following fields:


  • Any Text – any combination of text can be entered here. This is the best way to start your search if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for
  • Repository – select from the pick list of options if you only want to search the collections at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Archives or only those at the Royal London Hospital Archives
  • Reference Number – enter full repository reference if you have it e.g. RLHLH/A/1/2/1 – this will give you a specific result for one record. If you wish to search under a particular collection number please enter e.g. RLHLH\* - this will give you every record listed under that collection.
  • Date – limit your search to a particular year or period
  • Level – select from the pick list of options if you only want to search for catalogue descriptions for a particular hierarchical level. For more about levels of description, see the Glossary.


Refine advanced search criteria

By default, a search will look for the word or words you have entered. However, you can choose to change the default search criteria for some fields by clicking the “Refine Search Criteria” option. There are three ways to refine the search option:


With all the words

With at least one of the words

Without the words


By default, the Boolean “And” is assumed, for example if you enter ‘register’ in the Title field and ‘pathology’ in the Description field, only records containing both 'register' and 'pathology' (in the respective fields) will be found. Records containing just one of these words will not be shown in the search results.


Browsing the arrangement of entire collections

As well as searching the catalogue for specific items or collections, it is also possible to browse all of the items within a collection. This can be done from any level of the collection. Click on the reference number (marked ‘RefNo’) of the description you are viewing to see a ‘tree’ display, with branches showing the series, files, or items which make up the collection. You can click on these titles to see the full catalogue descriptions, or if these descriptions have further levels below them, you can open those using the ‘+’ button, which will display constituent parts at the next level.


Browsing like this can be a good way of investigating related records which may not have been identified by your initial search. In particular, this is a good way of viewing all the records relating to a particular hospital or institution, or all items in a collection.

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