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This section will help you identify the best catalogue for your type of research, and tell you how to access the collections in the Library and online.

Why are there so many catalogues to choose from? 

For historical reasons, information about content in the Library's collections can be found in several different online systems. You can get a list of almost everything available on a topic by searching across all catalogues, but some catalogues, such as the Archives and Manuscripts catalogue and Library catalogue, also offer more precise search techniques. 

Try this search tool wizard to find out which search option is best for your needs


Searching all catalogues

Cartoon Advertisement for 'Vim'. By Lever Brothers Ltd. Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Searching by subject

Women modelling spectacles of unusual shapes. Photograph.  Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Searching the Library catalogue

A woman wearing glasses. From Arzneibuch, a compendium of popular medicine and surgery, circa 1675. Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Searching Archives and Manuscripts

Man with metal clamps on his eyelids. Folio 181 verso, from 'Ophthalmodouleia' by D G Bartisch. Credit: Wellcome Library, London


Finding materials in the Library

A symbolic image of perfection in creation, representing the end point of alchemical discovery. Watercolour drawing from a manuscript by Honoré Marinier. Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Request and delivery

A monk lies ill in bed and is brought food on a tray by a fellow monk. Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Databases A-Z

Close up of the compound eye of a fruit fly (drosophila). Scanning electron micrograph. Wellcome Library, London

Printed catalogues

Illustrated Sinhalese manuscript. The First Discourse of the Buddha (Dhammacakkappavattana sutra). 19th century. Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Finding early printed books online

Three hares swimming in a river. From 'Ortus sanitatis' by Arnaldus de Villanova. Credit: Wellcome Library, London

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Valves in the forearm, from 'De motu cordis' by William Harvey. Credit: Wellcome Library, London


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A man sitting in a chair reading whilst his leg is in traction and attached to a pulley mechanism. Wood engraving.  Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Library catalogue EndNote filter

An absinthe addict eyeing three glasses on a table Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Library catalogue access via Z39.50

Lord Melbourne and Lord John Russell as schoolboys at a class given by Sir Robert Peel: Lord Brougham peeps from behind a door. Coloured lithograph by H B John Doyle. Credit: Wellcome Library, London