Help using the catalogue

How to find books, journals, and other items


Understanding your search results

After you submit a search you will see a list of results:

  • Click on a listing to see more information about it.
  • Check that it is ‘Available’ in the Library and that another reader has not taken it out.
  • Take a note of where the item is located: the name of the collection and which floor it is on.
  • Also note the item’s shelf mark (classmark), so that you know where to find it on the shelf.

Floorplans are displayed around the Library and on the website.


What if the item isn’t there?

  • Check you are looking in the right place. Most of our books are arranged using a case sensitive classification system (called Bliss) — upper case letters are generally shelved before the lower case ones. Learn more about classmarks.
  • Someone may be reading it in the Library.
  • It may be in the reshelving area near the collection.
  • If the Catalogue says it’s been ‘Recently Returned’ it might be behind the Service Desk on the 4th Floor. Ask staff at the desk for assistance.


Finding Articles

You can search multiple journals at once using Senate House Library’s electronic resources for full-text articles and article citations. Academic Search Complete is a good general resource. Back runs of journals can be searched on JSTOR or the Periodicals Archive Online. For subject specific electronic resources check the relevant Research Collection. You can search across many electronic resources simultaneously on ProQuest or EBSCOhost.



If you know the name of the database you are looking for (like JSTOR or EEBO) just search for it by name using the Catalogue.

For a wider subject search and browsable lists (like English Databases) use the link on the appropriate Research Collection page.


The Fetch Service

Items in the closed access areas of the Library such as ‘the stack’ or the Offsite Store are fetched by staff. You can request most of these items using the Fetch Service.

If you have any questions about finding items in the Library please visit the Service Desk on the 4th floor where staff will be happy to help you.