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How to search our catalogue

We now have a video on YouTube for helpful tips on searching our catalogue.

Written instructions

You can use the search box found at the top of each page to enter a particular keyword, combination of words or a reference number. This will return search results with the records displayed in order of the most relevant first. The search covers our guidance pages as well as entries on the online catalogue.

Tip – you can search for an exact phrase by using quotation marks, e.g. “Industrial Revolution”.

Tip – you can also use an asterisk for wild card searches e.g. “Davi*son” will find both Davison and Davidson.

Results page

screen shot of results page

Screen shot of results page

The results page will display basic information about each record and a thumbnail image where available.

Select ‘View Record’ to view the full description, order or view the original record or browse that particular collection.

Tip – You can sort the results list by title, date or level (i.e. collection, series or item – articles or general ifnormation pages will be listed at the top).  Simply use “Sort By” in the left hand panel to select the relevant option.


This shows further information about the record.

Please note it is this Document Reference (or Class in the case of a book) which we use to physically find the item. The System Reference which is prefixed with an X should not be used to order individual documents or books unless you are unable to identify the correct Document Reference or Class number. However, if you are unsure it may be helpful to quote both.

Screen shot from the online catalogue

Screen shot from the online catalogue

Having found a document of interest you can then:

  • Browse this Collection – this shows how the item fits into a collection, so you may be able to find related items.
  • Order and view – you’ll need to register to enable you to request a document ready for viewing in our Search Room or request (and pay for) a digital copy.
  • Leave a user comment – if you want to supply some relevant information about the item. Comments are monitored and will not appear immediately.

Further search options and tips

Once you have your your initial search results, you can filter this using the options in the left hand panel.

For instance, you can filter the results to show only those which include an image. The filter is also particularly useful for formats – for example to find photographs or maps. However, please note that the results will depend on how well the records are indexed.  In particular, the subject, people, place and date filters will not provide comprehensive results.

Tip – to narrow your search to material held in a specific library select that library from the Places filter.

You can also use the “Advanced” button (at the right of the search bar) to make your initial search more specific as well as restrict the search to exact phrases.

Tip – you can restrict your search to a particular collection by entering the System Reference followed by an asterix in the Identifier search box, for example:
enter X552* and another term to search within the Powis Collection
enter XLS* and another term to search within the Local Studies collection (books, articles, ephemera etc)

Tip – to restrict your search to material held in a specific library enter the name of the library in the Place search box, e.g. Oswestry Library

Can’t find what you are looking for?

Our online catalogue includes details of a vast range of archives and local studies material held at Shropshire Archives and local libraries throughout the County. We regularly update and expand the records which are on the site and so it is worth revisiting.

However, it does not include details of all the archives held. We have a variety of index cards and paper catalogues onsite. Visit our uncatalogued material page for more guidance.  If you still can’t find what you are looking for please do contact us at [email protected] for advice.