Searching RLUK

The search form offers a range of search options, including a command line search.

Note: Records can vary in content so the more information you enter the more likely you are to miss records with more limited content. Eg. Not all records will have a date of publication, so if you include a date and don't find what you are looking for try removing the date limit.

Command line search

Enter a Command Line search in the form 'index code' 'colon' 'search terms' eg:
Command line: ti: king lear
Command line: au: russell ti:malaria pu: blackwell scientific

Terms are generally treated as keywords and different elements of the search (eg. author and title) will be automatically 'ANDed'.

Note: Any index codes other than those listed below will be treated as search terms.

Abbreviation Index name
au Author name (personal or corporate)
ti Title phrase
su Subject keyword
cl Dewey Class Number (eg.616.61) or Library of Congress Class Number (eg. RC903)
isbn International standard book number
issn International standard serial number
lccn Library of Congress control number
pn Publisher's number
dk Derived Key
kw Keyword
pu Publisher
pd Date of publication
lg Language code

Note: Derived keys take the following form:

Author-Title key.
The author title key consists of the first four letters of the authors surname followed by the first four letters of the title of the work. For example, "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen becomes " aust,prid".
Title key.
The title key is made from the first three letters of the first word of the title, the first two letters of the second word, the first two letters of the third word and the first letter of the fourth word. Eg:
"Pride and Prejudice" becomes "Pri-an-pr-"
"Lord of the rings" becomes "Lor-of-th-r" All three pieces of punctuation must be included, so a work entitled "Chronicles" has a title key of "Chr---" or "Chr,,,".


  • There should be no spaces in a derived key.
  • Each part of the key can be separated by either a comma or a hyphen.
  • Derived keys are not case sensitive so Dickens,C is the same as dickens,c.

Author etc. Search

You can search for authors, translators, editors etc.
For people, enter the name in a familiar form, eg:

  • T. S. Eliot
  • Jane Austen
  • Clarke, Arthur C

The order of elements in the name doesn't matter eg. 'Clarke, Arthur C' and 'Arthur C Clarke' will find the same records. But you will get a different result set just using initials eg. 'A C Clarke'.

When the author is an organisation, enter an acronym, full name, or the main words of the name.

  • Eg WHO or World Health, will both find items by the World Health Organisation, but the result sets will not be the same

Title Search

Enter the full title, the start of a long title, or just the main title words. Eg.

  • Musick in the Masque of Comus
    or just
  • Masque Comus

Journal Title Search

To find journals enter the Journal title in the 'Title' field and use the 'Material type' field to limit the search to Journals & other periodicals. Eg:

  • Title: Plant breeding
  • Material type: Journals & other periodicals
  • Note: Not all records have a document type, so if you don't find what you are looking for try removing the Materials type limit

Publisher Name Search

Publisher names can vary in records so only use this if you need to. Enter the main word(s) eg.

  • Collins
  • Routledge

ISBN/ISSN etc. Search

The ISBN, ISSN, ISMN etc. are unique numbers offering a quick search and you need no other search terms. The search will check for a range of standard publisher numbers but most are unlikely to appear in the records. Eg:

  • ISBN/ISSN etc.: 9790708105046
  • ISBN/ISSN etc.: 0955-2073

Subject Search

The Subject search checks the subject fields, (often in US English), content notes fields, and titles of records, eg.

  • Subject: "color chemistry"
  • Subject: "colour chemistry"

Keyword Search

The Keyword search checks the content of the whole record.
Used alone it can find very large numbers of records, but it is worth trying if other searches fail, eg. for conference proceedings where the title may be uncertain.

  • Eg. Keyword: Sorrento biotechnology

Record ID Search

  • To search for a single record you can enter a single RLUK record ID.
  • No othere search term is required.
  • This is the number given in the 001 in the MARC record display.

Year of Publication Search

Use in combination with other search terms to restrict your results to documents published in one or more years. Eg:

  • Date published: 1990
  • Date published: 1885-1890
  • Date published: -1650
  • Date published: 2011-


  • Not all records have dates, and some records have errors in the dates. If you can't find what you are looking for try repeating the search without the date limit, or change a single date to a date range around the relevant year, eg. change 1990 into 1989-1991.
  • Limiting a search by a large date range, eg. 1960-1980, can make it very slow.

Place of Publication Search

Enter a a placename to find documents published in that place. Eg:

  • Place published: Reykjavik

The Place published is best used where you are interested in the publishing output of a particular place.


  • Older records may not include a Place of publication. So if you fail to find what you are looking for, or you want a comprehensive search, do not include Place published.
  • Older materials may contain their place of publication in Latin form eg. Oxoniensis. In many cases the English version will be included for searching (ie. Oxford) but this will not always be the case. So if it is essential to include a place a publication, then for comprehensive coverage of early materials you might need to do separate searches using Latin and English forms of the place name.

RDA Records Search

  • Select the 'RDA Records' tick-box to limit your search results just to those records created using the RDA cataloguing conventions.
  • Records are identified as using RDA on the basis of an 040$erda within the record.

Material Type Search

Use in combination with other search terms to restrict your results to a specific type of material.
Eg: to find the Garden History journal search for:
    Title: Garden history
    Material type: Journals & other periodicals
This ensures you find journals and other periodicals whilst excluding books, videos etc.


Not all materials are correctly identified in terms of their material type; this is a particular problem for older materials. If you are seeking a specific item and you fail to find it, try removing the Material type limit and repeating the search.

Language Search

Use in combination with other search terms to restrict your results to documents in/containing a particular language. Select the Language list then type the first letter of the language you want and/or use the scroll bar alongside the list.

This is good for works widely available in translation. Eg. if you want 'La Peste' in the original French, you could restrict your search to French to exclude translations into other languages.

If you do not specify a particular language the search will look for any language.


  • Not all records have a language identified and some have errors. If you don't find what you want are looking for, or you want a comprehensive search, remove the Language limit and try again.
  • You may find older records representing translations from the language you want.
  • Limiting a search to English only can make it slow. If you are searching for an English language document then a limit to English language is also usually redundant.

Library Name Search

Use in combination with other search terms to restrict your results to documents held by particular libraries:

  • Select the Library list, then type the first letter of the library you want and/or use the scroll bar alongside the list.
  • To select (or de-select) more than one library try holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard when you select the library names.
  • If you do not choose a library the search will look for works held by any library.

Note: Limiting a search to several libraries may make it slow.

Result Displays

When you do a search you will be presented with a list of results to browse and options to find out more about the materials retrieved by your search.
You can:

Browse Search Results

  • Browsing record displays: Large result sets are split across several pages. Use the page numbers, above the record display, to browse second and subsequent result pages eg: First < << 1 2 3 > >>
  • Move to a specific page: Choose the page number you want from the drop-down list and select the 'Go' button. Useful if you have a good idea where details of a specific document might be in a sorted result list.
  • Number of records on a page: Results are shown 25 records to a page, but you can change this to 10, 50, or 100 records to a page using the 'Show' button above or below the result list.
    • Choose your preferred number of records per page from the drop-down list, then select 'Show' to change the number of records on the screen.

Change the Sort order

  • To change the sort order choose your preferred sort order from the drop-down list then select the 'Sort' button.

If you have found fewer than 500 records your results will be sorted. The sort order will be shown in the 'Sort by' option above the result list; the default sort order will vary depending on the type of search you carried out.

If you have found between 500 and 2,500 records you can choose to sort the records using the 'Sort by' option. Above this number the results are not sorted because of the time this takes.

Change the Display format for Browsing

You can change the amount of information included in the records in the result list:

  • The default display option is Normal View Normal result browse.
  • Use the Short result browse to include less information in the records; good for quickly browsing a large result set.
  • Use the Long result browse to see a browsable MARC format list of records, which includes more detail; good if you want extra content to check document version etc. but don't need all the information included in the Full record display.

View the Full MARC record display

Clicking on a title in the result list gives you the MARC Full Record Display for that item. This includes all the available information for that document.

You can browse MARC Full Records using the browse options options above the results Eg: << < 1 [Go] of 5 > >>

Search within results

If your search has found a lot of records you can use the 'Search within results' option on the left to add a keyword to your search. This will reduce the number of records in your result set.

  • Enter one or more keywords in the 'Search within results' search box and select 'Search'.

This will search your existing result set for the new search term(s) and give you a new result list. The search results will now show records containing both your original search terms and the new search terms.

Exporting records

You can export records in either MARC exchange format or a more readable formatted MARC.

  • You can export all the records in a result set;
  • You can use the tick box next to the record number to select a subset of records for export;
    Note: currently you can only export selected records a screen at a time.

Help and Advice

For general information about the RLUK service contact RLUK:


For search support contact the Copac team:

Twitter: @copac
Tel: 0161 275 6789