Guidance for using basic and advanced search features on this site

General: the new collections online database contains 33,666 records. This is a small selection of the total number of records in our collections, and more records will be added over time. You can search Life Collections (butterflies and moths), Earth Collections (e.g. minerals, meteorites and gemstones) or Archive Collections (e.g. letters, maps, diaries, paintings) collections.

How to search: there are two ways to search our databases, a simple search that targets key fields and an advanced search that allows more complex searching of specific fields. In both types of search you have a choice of searching across all the collections or searching the Life, Earth or Archive collections individually.

If you do not get the search results that you expect, please check your spelling.

You can use an asterisk to perform a wildcard search e.g. Taxon = "macro*" will return the results Macrosila, Macroplectra and macropterana. You can use quotation marks to search for a complete phrase, e.g. "geological table".

To see the full extent of records in a collection you can perform an empty search. To see all the collections in the archive, search for "fonds" in the simple search or Level of description = "fonds" in the advanced search.

Simple search: to find records related to a particular subject such as William Smith or quartz, enter that keyword into the Search box and click the search button. You can limit this search to a particular collection by selecting the collection from the dropdown menu to the left of the search box.

Advanced Search: The advanced search supports targeted searches within specific fields. It is the best place to start if you are familiar with the subject.

If you enter search terms in multiple fields it will function as an AND search e.g. If you want to search for holotypes from the Nearctic region enter Type Status = "Holotype", Region = "Nearctic" in the Life Collections search.