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The British Library   Co-operation and Partnership among UK Shakespeare Collections.
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Click on a topic for more information.  If you require further information please contact us:
Database contents
Simple search
Using Boolean expressions
Advanced search
Browsing search terms
Results screen

Database contents

The Touchstone Database includes descriptions of significant UK Shakespeare collections.  The descriptions are at collection level but where possible they are linked to online catalogues.  There are currently 4 repositories contributing to the database:

The Shakespeare Institute Library
The Shakespeare Centre Library
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office
Birmingham Central Library

The records include descriptions of Archives, manuscripts, printed books, electronic data.  The descriptions are at the collection level and you will therefore not find reference to individual books or articles. 

Simple search

You can perform a simply search by inputting search term(s)? into the first search form.

Enter your search term or search terms separated by spaces
A space is, by default, treated as AND, so that the query Branagh Hamlet returns collections containing the words Branagh and Hamlet
Click on the Search button

More complex searches can be built using Boolean expressions. 

Using Boolean expressions

Boolean terms are words that generate specific search results.  The terms are;

AND - finds records that contain all search terms.  Used to limit a search
OR - finds records that contain any search terms.  Used to broaden a search
NOT - retrieves records that contain the first term but not the second term

It is possible to use more than two terms. Eg.

Branagh and Hamlet and Coriolanus

If combining AND and OR Boolean terms you need to use round brackets to ensure the terms are searched for in the required sequence.  The bracketed relationship will be searched for first and then combining with the term  outside the brackets. Eg.

(Hamlet or Coriolanus) and Branagh

will find records which contain Branagh and either Hamlet or Coriolanus

Hamlet or (Coriolanus and Branagh)

Will find records which contain Hamlet or both Coriolanus and Branagh.

Advanced Search

Advanced searching enables you to limit your searching to particular fields, and browse the search terms contained in each field.  The fields include: collection description, subject, personal name, corporate name, place, repository, format, date.

Searching in a single field

Select a field from the drop down menu
Type a search term
Click on ‘Submit’

Eg.  Select  Personal Name from the drop down list and enter a name, eg. Branagh

Combining fields

You can search for up to 3 terms simultaneously by entering a term in more than one of the three search boxes.


In the first box, select Personal Name field and enter Branagh
In the second box, select Repository field and enter Shakespeare Institute Library

This search will find all references to Branagh in the records submitted by the Shakespeare Institute Library.

Browsing Search Terms

Select a field from the drop down menu
Click on the ‘Browse terms’ option at the right of the search box.
A list of relevant terms is displayed.  Click on a term and the selected term will automatically be included on the search form.

Results Screen

Sorting and Ranking of results

The results are ranked alphabetically by title

Click on a title to display the results record.

Summary Record

The results display gives a summary of the significant fields and the location of the collection. 

Full Record Display

To display the full record display select Full Record.

Printing/Downloading/Emailing results

Under construction

Enter the Database

Maintained by: CRASH
Last updated: July 09, 2019
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