Search help 

Wildcard searches (* and ?) 

The wildcard can be used to maximise your search results.  

  • An asterisk (*) may be used to specify any number of characters. 
    • For example, *east would bring up records with the words northeast, southeast, feast, etc; east* would bring up eastern, eastward, etc. variants at once.  
  • A question mark (?) may be used to represent a single character, anywhere in the word.  It is most useful when there are variable spellings for a word, and you want to search for all variants at once.  
    • For example, searching for colo?r would return both color and colour.  

Advanced Search

Use the Name field to search for people or organisations associated with the creation of objects, books and documents in the collections, e.g. ‘joseph banks’; ‘hardy, thomas’; ‘society of dilettanti’, etc.  

Limit the search to works produced within a date range via the Date fields.  To limit the search to a single year or day (e.g. 1815, 18/06/1815), enter that date in both the Earliest date and Latest date fields. 

If you only want to retrieve records that have images, click the Image tick-box.

If you want to exclude one or more categories of records from your search, you can de-select them using the Works of Art, Books or Archives tick boxes (for example, de-selecting Books will limit your search to works of art and archive records only).  

If you are interested in searching just one category of record, select the Search Works of Art, Search Books or Search Archives search-screens using the tabs. 


Can I download images from your catalogue, or use them for my research? 

Catalogue images can be downloaded for personal and educational use only. They must not be used for commercial use or shared publicly. Copyright of images and all other material within the catalogue remains with Eton College and other copyright holders. See our terms and conditions for more information. 

You may wish to order a high-resolution digital reproduction of an object, or ask for a low-resolution snapshot. For more information, please see our Image Services page.

I’ve found what I was looking for. Can I arrange a visit to the reading room? 

You are welcome to book a visit to our reading room to carry out your research. More information can be found on the Collections website

I have a question about a collection object. Who can I contact? 

Please contact Eton College Collections in the first instance. Your enquiry will be directed to a member of staff who can help you. 

I searched for a particular author/publisher/bookseller that I know to be represented in the catalogue, but it didn’t return any results. Why was that? 

You may need to search for variants on their name. For instance, search for ‘Manutius’ as well as 'Manuzio’, or ‘Johann Froben’ as well as ‘Johannes Frobenius’. You may also need to search for pseudonyms, for example ‘Douglas Rutherford’ and ‘James McConnell’. You can also use the wildcard * to input a truncated version of their name. Please note that publisher, printer and bookseller names are recorded exactly as they appear in the bibliographic item, and their spellings are not standardised. 

To retrieve some archive records, you may need to search for names using the general text search. 

I’m looking for a collection of literary papers. Should I use the Books and Manuscripts tab, or Archives? 

As well as manuscripts and printed books College Library has an extensive literary archive, which includes literary papers. Please search within the Archives tab, or use the general search. Searching “ECL MSS” in the Reference tab will call up the literary archives in their entirety, and at fonds level. 

Why can’t I find any records of books and manuscripts with images? 

Records from the Library’s collection do not yet have images attached. Please note that if you have selected ‘Only items with images’ your search will not return any book records. 

Other resources 

College Library’s card catalogue should be consulted for printed books (c. 1455-1800) not found in the online catalogue. Please contact the library staff for further information. 

James, M.R., Descriptive catalogue of manuscripts in the library of Eton College (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1895) 

Ker, N.R., Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977). 
Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters database