If you would like to build a complex search you can combine keywords. For example you could search for:
- red yellow will search for records with both keywords
- red OR yellow will search for records with either of the keywords in them
- red NOT yellow will search for records with the first keyword but not the second
- “Burlington House” will search for the phrase
- book* will search for any words beginning with the keyword, for example it will find ‘book’, ‘books’ and bookbinding.
- book? will search for the keyword with a single character
after the keyword, for example it will find ‘book’ and ‘books’ but not
To build a more advanced search choose ‘show advanced search options’. Here you can refine your search to a particular location or collection, or to a type of record.
For instance to just search the Burlington House collection tick the box next to ‘Restrict search to Burlington House’. If you don’t choose a tick box records belonging to both locations will be retrieved.
To just search for Museum Objects, Archives and Manuscripts, Printed Books or eResources just click on the appropriate tab to search for just that type of material. Otherwise use the ‘Search all collections’ tab to search across all the record types.
You may now search across multiple indexes. For example you could search for:
Date: 16th century
The current catalogue of manuscripts and archives is a combination of three sources: Pamela Willetts’s Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Society of Antiquaries of London (published in 2000), a card catalogue of the Society’s papers and correspondence from the 18th century, and cataloguing carried out by the Archivist in 2021. Willetts’s catalogue is also the basis for the catalogue that is available online via the National Archives.
A few manuscript records are currently missing from the collection. Please use the link to Discovery at the National Archives if you cannot find something.
We are working on bringing all of these catalogue records to a consistent format, but until this is completed you may notice oddities or discrepancies. Please get in touch with us with any corrections or suggestions for improvement.
If you have used the manuscript collection in the past you will notice that the numbering looks different – the actual manuscript numbers are the same as before, but the format has changed to bring it into line with the rest of the collections. For example, ‘MS 422’ is now ‘MSS/0422’ and ‘SAL/MS/808’ is ‘MSS/0808’.
Some collections which were in the past classified as manuscripts have been re-catalogued as archives. This is particularly true for research, publishing and other notes of antiquaries and historians. For example, the notebooks of John Henry Middleton, previously SAL/MS/709/1-18, now have the reference code MID. You can still find all collections by their previous number (in the basic search only; the reference code search box will only find current reference codes).
In the printed catalogue, all manuscripts are indicated by a headword. This has been kept intact for the title, but supplemented with additional detail. For example, MSS/0280, which was previously only indicated as 'MAGIC', now has the title ‘Magic. “Clavicules de Salomon”.’
When searching for Printed Books and eResources your search will be sent to the Library catalogue, and will open in a new tab of your browser. From here you can further refine your search.