Library Hub Discover - Help

Library Hub Discover is currently a pilot service, and as such provides access to records from a limited set of libraries, and limited search functionality. The search functionality and accompanying help materials will be expanded over the coming months as the interface is developed. If you need more help, you can email us at

What can I search?

The Library Hub Discover pilot service includes a subset of data from the libraries contributing to the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase - you can see an up to date list of the libraries whose catalogues are included on our About page. The pilot service offers a keyword search, and allows you to view a list of search results, and individual records.

To search, enter your search terms into the Search field, and click Search.

The keyword search will check the contents of a whole record, so you can use it to search for authors, titles, publishers etc, as well as subject keywords.

Other search tips

You can use the following options in combination with your search terms to refine the results you see:

  • Phrases: put speech marks around your search terms if you want to search for a phrase,
    e.g. gods of management
  • Wildcards: use * at the end of the root of a word to search for different word endings,
    e.g. photograph*, which will find records containing the words photograph, photographs, photographer, photography etc.
  • Boolean searching:
    • | : use the OR operator to return records which contain either or both of your terms (note: you must use the | [pipe] symbol, not the word OR),
      e.g. einstein | gravity searches for all the titles that contain EITHER einstein OR gravity or BOTH
    • - : use the NOT operator to limit your results to records which DO NOT contain a term (note: you must use the - [dash] symbol, not the word NOT),
      e.g. einstein -gravity will return records which DO contain einstein but DO NOT contain gravity
    • (...) : use parentheses to construct a search using a number of different operators,
      e.g. (einstein | gravity) & relativity returns results which contain all three terms, or einstein and relativity, or gravity and relativity, but not einstein and gravity only
  • Fuzzy searching:
    • Terms: use ~n at the end of a term (where n is a number) to search for approximate matches. The value of n specifies the number of changes (in characters) which can be made to your term,
      e.g. photo~1 will return records which contain photos and photon but not photograph, which would require the addition of 5 characters. To return records containing photograph you would need to use photo~5 in your search.
      Note that this option includes changes to the beginning as well as the end of your term,
      e.g. photo~1 will return records containing iPhoto as well as photos
      This option also includes changes made within your term,
      e.g. photo~1 will return records containing phyto as well as photos
    • Phrases: use ~n at the end of a phrase (where n is a number) to search for approximate matches. The value of n specifies the number of changes in position which can be made to the terms in your phrase. This might be to separate your terms,
      e.g. "einstein's theory"~1 will return records containing the phrase "einstein's new theory", whilst "einstein's theory"~2 will return records containing the phrase "einstein's radical new theory"
      However this option is also flexible enough to return records containing phrases which include your terms in a different order, as long as the number of position changes specified is sufficient,
      e.g. "theory of relativity"~4 will return records containing "relativity of theory". The sequence of changes necessary can be visualised as follows:
      Position 1 Position 2 Position 3
      Original phrase theory of relativity
      Change 1 theory of | relativity
      Change 2 theory | relativity of
      Change 3 relativity of | theory
      Change 4 relativity of theory
  • Searching in specified fields: you can use the search box to search for terms in specific fields by adding the following prefixes to your search terms -
    • title:
    • author:
    • publisher:
    • subject:
    • keyword:
    Your search will return results containing all of the words following the prefix in the specified field, up to the end of the query or until another operator is found,

    e.g. 'title: complete novels illustrated austen' will return records containing all of those terms in the title field, but 'title: complete novels illustrated author: austen' will return records with complete, novels and illustrated in the title field and austen in the author field

    You can use this option in combination with other operators if you wish,

    e.g. 'title: "pride and prejudice"' will return records containing the exact phrase "pride and prejudice" in the title field; 'title: pride | prejudice' will return records containing the term pride OR the term prejudice OR both in the title field.

    Including a space after the prefix is optional - 'title:pride and prejudice' will be treated the same as 'title: pride and prejudice'

    You can limit your search by date using the following prefix:
    • date:
    e.g. 'title: "pride and prejudice" date: 1813' will return records containing the phrase "pride and prejudice" in the title and 1813 in the date field

    You can specify a date range using a dash, e.g. date: 2005-2010. 2005- will search for all years after 2005. -2005 will search for all dates up to 2005.

    Note: you cannot use the operators | [OR] and - [NOT] with the date prefix.

    You can also search for standard numbers using the following prefixes:
    • isbn:
    • issn:

    e.g. 'isbn: 0192819488' will return all records with 0192819488 in the ISBN field

    You can add multiple standard numbers, separated by a space, after the isbn or issn prefix, in order to search for several items at once,

    e.g. 'isbn: 075090206X 0006724825 9780007491544', which will return records containing any of these ISBNs

    The standard number search will look for all ISBNs or ISSNs in the query, until it reaches a term it does not recognise as such, when it will revert to a keyword search,

    e.g. 'isbn: 9780753722725 0951103520 austen' will return records containing either the number 9780753722725 or the number 0951103520 in the ISBN field and the keyword austen anywhere in the same record

    Sometimes ISBNs include extra characters or information (e.g. 0333374282 (pbk)) - you should not include these in your search,

    e.g. 'isbn: 0333374282' will find records with '0333374282 (pbk)' in the ISBN field

You can limit your search to the holdings of a specific library using the prefix:

  • held-by:

This must be used together with our library code for the specific library,

e.g. 'held-by: abr' will return records for items held by Aberystwyth University

You can add multiple codes, separated by a space, after the held-by prefix, in order to search the holdings of several libraries at once,

e.g. 'held-by: abn ban cmu', which will return records for items held by either the University of Aberdeen, or Bangor University, or Cardiff Metropolitan University, or some combination of these

The held-by search will include all library codes in the query, until it reaches a term it does not recognise as such, when it will revert to a keyword search,

e.g. 'held-by: abn ban austen' will return all records from either the University of Aberdeen, or Bangor University which also include the keyword austen anywhere in the record

You can see the codes for all of the libraries currently loaded into Library Hub Discover below:

Institution Code
University of Aberdeen Libraries abn
Aberystwyth University abr
Bangor University ban
University of Bath bat
Birkbeck, University of London bbk
Bishopsgate Institute Library bsh
British Museum brm
British School at Athens bsa
Cardiff Metropolitan University cmu
Chetham's Library che
City, University of London cul
Dundee University dun
Durham Cathedral Library cath
Durham University dur
University of Edinburgh Libraries edi
Edinburgh Napier University nap
Glasgow Caledonian University gcu
Henry Moore Institute hmi
Imperial College London imp
Institution of Civil Engineers ice
Institution of Mechanical Engineers ime
Leadhills Miners’ Library ldh
University of Liverpool Libraries liv
The London Library lnl
London School of Economics and Political Science lse
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine lsh
Manchester Public Libraries mpl
National Gallery Library ngl
National Library of Wales / Llyfrgell Gendlaethol Cymru nlw
National Railway Museum nrm
National Trust ntr
Natural History Museum nhm
Northumbria University nbr
Open University opn
University of Oxford Libraries oxf
Paul Mellon Centre pmc
Royal Academy of Music ram
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew kew
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow rcg
Royal Holloway, University of London rhl
Royal Observatory of Edinburgh roedi
Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama wmd
University of St Andrews Libraries sta
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle sgc
Science Museum Library sci
Society of Antiquaries of London Library sal
Society of Friends sof
University of Southampton sth
University of Sussex sus
Swansea University swa
Trinity College Dublin tcd
Ushaw College ushaw
Winchester College Fellows' Library win
University of York yrk
York Minster ymi

Too many or too few results, or not what you expected?

  • Check your spellings or try different spellings, e.g. try labor instead of labour
  • Try American terms, e.g. replace car with automobile or vice versa
  • Use broader/narrower search terms or alternatives e.g. replace ’German measles’ with ‘rubella’
  • If you have used the fuzzy search options described above, remember that a high ~n value can return records containing terms or phrases quite different from your original
  • Remember also that the Library Hub Discover pilot service still only allows you to search records from a limited number of libraries

Search results

When you perform a keyword search on Library Hub Discover you will be taken to the Search Results Display. This shows the set of records returned by your search, gives a brief description of each item, and a list of which libraries have copies next to each item. You can select the title of an item to go to its Full Record Display. This will give you all of the available details about the item.

Large result sets are split across several pages. Use the arrows and page numbers, above the record display, to browse second and subsequent results pages.

Viewing and understanding records

Clicking on a title in the results list will take you to the Full Record Display, which includes all of the available information for that item. In the Full Record Display you can:

  • See information about the item, including publication details, language and format
  • See a summary of the content, where this is available
  • See a list of all of the libraries which hold the item on the right-hand side

The holdings display

You can see detailed holdings information for each of the libraries which holds a copy (or copies) of an item by clicking on the relevant library's name under 'All holding libraries' to the right of the record. This can be done either from the search results screen or the full record display.

In the Holdings Display, beneath the record itself, you will see the detailed holdings information. If the item is a print resource, you will see a holdings table with (where available) the location of the item and the shelfmark. You may also see information such as volume and issue coverage for journals, and local copy notes relating to the item. Not all libraries provide information in all of these fields, so the information available will vary between records.

If the library has multiple print copies of an item, you will see these on separate rows.

In the future you will also be able to see live availability information for items where we have live access to the holding library's catalogue (this is not possible for all libraries).

If the item is an electronic resource, you will see the link to the resource in a 'Link to external resource' box. Sometimes libraries provide more than one link to an e-resource in a record. If this is the case you will see multiple external resource links. It is worth noting that links to external resources may often require an institutional or subscriber log in. You may need to speak to your own library staff, if you are not sure whether you have access to an e-resource.

Providing feedback on the pilot service

We would very much like to hear your feedback on the pilot Library Hub Discover interface. You can provide feedback via the questionnaire located here:

Note that the pilot interface will be developing constantly over the coming months. We encourage you to return to the service and test it again as it develops: you may fill in the above questionnaire as many times as you wish, in order to provide us with feedback on new features as they are released.