Online Catalogue Guides

Frequently asked questions about the online catalogue

Online catalogue

Online catalogue

 

How do I search the online catalogue for…

Renewing books

  

Items in the catalogue

 

Searching the catlogue

How do I search the catalogue for specific collections or types of material?

On the catalogue search box (for both quick and advanced searches) there is a field called 'collections', which can be used to focus a search to a particular collection in the Library or for a certain type of material. The options in this drop-down menu are as follows:

  • All - searches the whole catalogue
  • Archives - archives and manuscripts
  • Articles - searches the index of articles to periodicals
  • Drawings - drawings, medals and models
  • Books - books, other printed material and audio-visual items
  • Biog entries - biographical files
  • Photographs - slides, postcards and digital files

For example, if you want to find out whether the library has a particular book, from the catalogue homepage type in any keywords relating to the book (e.g. author and title) into the 'quick search' box and select 'Books' from the 'collections' drop-down menu. Complete by pressing the 'Search' icon to produce a set of results based on your chosen keywords.

The 'Advanced Search' option (a link is available from the catalogue homepage) is where search results can be refined using additional fields such as language, publication year and format.

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How do I search the catalogue for a book title, even if only part of it is known?

Search results can be produced even when only part of a title is known. Start from the catalogue homepage and select the 'Advanced Search' option. In the 'Title Keyword(s)' field, type in any words that you know from the title - the more the better, but even part of the title is enough to start a search. Complete by pressing the 'Search' icon to produce a set of results matching those keywords.

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How do I search the catalogue for particular buildings?

Start from the catalogue homepage and in the 'Quick Search' box, type in the name of the building. Complete by pressing the 'Search' icon to produce a set of results. Alternatively, for a more detailed search, in the catalogue homepage go to the 'Advanced Search' link. Type in the name of the building into the Advance Search box's 'Name of Building' field and complete by pressing the 'Search' icon.

In both quick and advanced searches, choose an option in the 'collections' drop-down menu to search all or part of the catalogue.

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How do I search the catalogue for information about the work of an architect or firm of architects?

Start from the catalogue homepage and in the 'Quick Search' box, type in the name of an architect or firm. Complete by pressing the 'Search' icon to produce a set of results. Alternatively, for a more detailed search, in the catalogue homepage go to the 'Advanced Search' link. Type in the name of an architect or firm into the Advance Search box's 'Name of Architect' field and press 'Search' to complete.

In both quick and advanced searches, select choose an option in the 'collections' drop-down menu to search all or part of the catalogue.

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How do I search the catalogue for biographical details about an architect?

From the catalogue homepage select the 'Advanced Search' option. In the Advanced Search box's 'Name of Architect' field, type in the name of the architect, then in the 'collections' drop-down menu select which part of the catalogue to search; for example, choosing 'Biog entries' will locate a biographical file available in the Library. Complete by pressing the 'Search' icon to produce a set of results.

There are fuller entries for many architects present in the Library's biographical files, which are available in the Directory of British Architects 1834 - 1900. A copy of this reference book is available for consultation by any visitor to the Library's Reading Room, 66 Portland Place.

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How do I search the catalogue for particular periodical articles from a particular year(s)?

A search for articles from journals can be narrowed down to a specific year or range of years. From the catalogue homepage go to the 'Advanced Search' link, from there fill in the details of these fields: 

  • collections - choose 'Articles' from this drop-down menu
  • Keyword(s) – type in any word for the catalogue to search, e.g. article title, architect or building name
  • pubyear – type in the publication year you wish to search for

Once the fields have been filled in, complete by pressing the 'Search' icon to produce a set of results matching your chosen criteria and keywords.

More than one publication year can be entered; for example, typing in '2000-2005' will find all periodical articles containing the keywords published in the years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. For a wider search you can use the wildcard character '?'. So, typing in 'housing' and '200?' will find all periodical articles containing the word 'housing' published in the decade starting in 2000. 

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Renewing books 

Can I renew my library books online?

Yes, books on loan from the Loan Library can be renewed via the online catalogue. Start from the catalogue homepage and go to the 'My Account' link in the grey toolbar. Select 'Renew Materials' and enter your user ID (Loan Library membership).

Please note, only RIBA members can borrow books from the Loan Library.

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Items in the catalogue

Is everything listed in the online catalogue?

No. The collections are continually expanding with acquisitions and donations, and these new items take time to be listed in the online catalogue. Not all of the Library's older records have been transferred into the catalogue and these remain in physical form and can be consulted in the Library, including:

  • Builder Index
    Photocopies of the annual indexes of the journal 'The Builder', for 1843-1951, are bound together at the end of the run. Library staff can also provide access to a card catalogue covering 'The Builder' between 1843 - 1864 and volumes covering references to buildings in London between 1842 - 1892. 'The Builder Illustrations Index 1843-1883' is also on open shelves in the Reading Room (RIBA, 66 Portland Place) and references to illustrated articles can be searched by subject, place and name and will provide page references within particular volumes.
  • Grey books
    These provide references to illustrated journal articles on building works by RIBA members. They are organised by the name of the architect or by building type. They cover 1920-1974 and are shelved in loose-leaf grey binders in the Reading Room. The grey books are also available on microfiche.

Contact the Library or the individual collections teams if you need more details about the holdings of the collections.

 

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