How do I Search?


How to start

To search or browse our Digital Library, choose one the following options available on the home page:

  • Enter a specific term or phrase in the "Search" box, eg "annual reports"
  • Narrow a search or apply filters using the "Advanced search" option, available when clicking on the search box and selecting "Advance search" from the drop-down menu
  • Browse all content, by clicking either on "Browse" next to the search box or one of the options under "Browse by" on the left of the home page

Tips for using the search and advance search options

  • By default, multiple search terms are searched with an "AND" operator. For example, searching for 'annual reports' will return all records that contain the terms 'annual' and 'reports'. To search for a phrase, use double quotation marks, for example “annual reports”.
  • Use an asterisk at the end of a word to conduct a wildcard search e.g. "politic*" will search for "politics", "political", "politician" etc.
  • Use Boolean operators such as "OR", "AND" "NOT" to broaden or narrow your search. For example, "annual NOT reports" will only bring up results with "annual" but not "reports"; "annual OR reports" will bring up results that contain either "annual" or "report". There are more Boolean operator options.
  • When typing 3 letters or more in the search box, one or more possible matches will appear in a drop-down below the search box, which continue to narrow as the user enters further text. Matches are organised by record type as follows: collections, discrete collections, people and organisations, subjects. If the right term appears in the search box drop-down, click on it to see the record in full. When multiple results for a record type exist, users can click on “all matching descriptions” link to view all records for a particular record type. By default, when users enter text in the search box and press enter, the results returned are for collection descriptions. If users wish to search for people and organisations, discrete collections or subjects using the main search box, they must click on the desired option when it appears in the drop-down.
  • The Clipboard icon appears on all collection description search and browse results. If users click on it the result will be added to your Clipboard. To view your Clipboard, click on the icon at the top of the page.
  • Search result pages include facet filters to help users narrow their search further. They appear on the left-hand side menu. By default, only those facets that relate to the results will be displayed - if a facet has 0 or only 1 result, it will not be shown. Facets available on collection description search/browse pages can include:
    • Part of: limits results to records which are part of the selected collection
    • Discrete collection: limits results to records which are part of the selected collection sub-group
    • Subject: limits results to records relating to the selected subject
    • Genre: limits results to those records relating to the selected type of material (e.g. digitised material; born-digital material)
    • Level of description: limits results to those records that match the selected level of description (e.g. collection, series, file, item, etc)
    • Media type: limits results to those records with a digital object attached that matches the selected media type (image, audio, text, video, or other).


Users can browse using the following options:

  • Collection descriptions: browse all digital collections held at LSE
  • Discrete collections: browse thematic collection sub-groups within LSE digital collections, as follows: Politics, economics and political science collections; Hall-Carpenter Archives; The Women’s Library; LSE Institutional Archives
  • People and Organisations: browse all people and organisations to which LSE digital collections relate
  • Subjects: browse all subjects to which LSE digital collections relate
  • Digital Objects: browse digital objects only
Note that by default, a top-level description filter is applied to the browse page for collection descriptions. This filter limits the returned results to collection descriptions only. Users can deselect the filter by clicking on the "x" next to "Only top-level descriptions".

Hierarchy browsing

Search result pages also include a 'Hierarchy' button which will take users to a full-page, full-width treeview containing all top-level descriptions. Each description in the hierarchy browse page that has children will display an “expand/collapse” icon that can be clicked to display all the children of that description.

When a user clicks a description title in the hierarchy browse page, they will be redirected to the related archival description view page with the standard treeview (the user should then be able to return to the hierarchy browse page where they left off).

Treeview search

If users have found records within a particular collection relevant to their research, they can browse or search them by using the ‘Treeview Search’ option.

When selecting a search result, users will get a treeview showing the hierarchical tree of all the records included in that collection. This also includes a “Quick search” box, to help them quickly locate specific descriptions in a deep hierarchy.

If users would like to view all the descriptive levels in a hierarchy in a 'Browse page', the can enter ‘*’ in the quick search box, press ‘enter’ and click the “Browse all descriptions” button at the bottom of the Quick search results. They will be redirected to a browse page, where they can use features such as the sort button and facet filters to navigate the descriptions.

For a more comprehensive guide on how to use the software behind our Digital Library - called 'AtoM' - see AtoM documentation.