Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't I find what I'm looking for?
Searching will only find exact matches in the catalogue so if you don't find anything the first time try searching for words with similar meanings. You can also perform a wildcard search using * e.g. famil* will return results for records including the words family, families etc.

If you are interested in a particular collection find it on the Collections A-Z page, click on ‘View record' and then browse the collection by clicking on the Doc Ref number. Some of our collections only have collection level descriptions; if this is the case contact us with your enquiry and Special Collections staff can check the collection for relevant material before you make a visit.

If you are interested in our book collections, these are catalogued on the main library catalogue which is searchable here.

I've found an item I'm interested in, how can I see more items in the same collection?
If you click on the Doc Ref number the Hierarchy Browser will open and you can browse all the catalogue entries in that collection using the + and - buttons. To view a record's catalogue entry click on its title.

How can I sort my search results?
Search results are automatically sorted by Doc Ref. To sort by another field, click on the relevant column heading.

How can I search within a collection?
To search within a collection you need to know the Doc Ref for the collection as a whole. The Doc Refs for our main archive catalogues are as follows:

Booker Prize Papers: BP
Dorset House Archive: DH
Oxford Brookes University Archive: OBU
Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music: POAAAM

When you’ve found the Doc Ref for the collection you’re interested in, go to the Advanced Search page and type it into the Doc Ref field followed by *. Now you can enter your search terms using the other fields and you will only get results from that collection. For example if you type 'BP*' into the Doc Ref field and ‘photograph’ into the Any Text field your results table will show all records within the Booker Prize Papers that include photographs.

I came to look at the Booker Prize Papers several years ago and I have the reference numbers of the items I looked at but the numbers on the online catalogue are different. How can I find the records again?
If you used the Booker Prize Papers before 2008 the reference numbers will be from the old numbering system. You can find the corresponding up to date catalogue entries using the Old Ref No search box on the Advanced Search page. Often the old reference number now refers to more than one record as the arrangement of the catalogue has changed. Note down the Doc Ref and Title of the records to request to view the items in the Reading Room.

How do I access material from the collections?
See the Special Collections webpages for information on visiting and using the collections:
You will need to know the Doc Ref and Title for each item to request it in the reading room.

Can I purchase photocopies or scans?
Copies for personal use can be requested via our copying service. See the Special Collections webpages for further details

Why is outdated language used in the catalogue?
The catalogue includes the titles of published material, some of which contain overtly racist, racially offensive or otherwise outdated terms. These have been retained as part of the historical record but do not reflect the views of Oxford Brookes University or its staff.