Search tips

Searching the letters

To search the full text of the letters, notes, and metadata, go to the Letters page and simply enter your search text into the search box and click the red ‘Search’ button. Common search operations, such as * to stand for any character, are honoured. You may also check the "fuzzy search" box, which will widen your search to include similar terms.

If desired, you can search a subset of the data, using the drop-down list to the left of the search box. Options include searching by letter text, notes, authors, addressees, locations, subjects, mentioned people and headwords, and the letter ID.

Each letter has been assigned an ID number (letter ID), which can be accessed alongside the full text of each letter. Once you have noted the ID of a particular letter, you can use this search option to access it quickly. The ID is also used to link to a letter persistently, using this pattern:{LetterID} (e.g.

Using filters

Instead of, or in addition to, using the search box, you can find letters using the filters on the right hand side to narrow the results list. Simply click on a term to restrict the results.

The filters can also be used as an overview of the search results, as only related terms are shown. For example, if the search has been restricted to letters written from Mill Hill, looking under the addressees filter category will show a list of all the addressees of letters originating there.

To remove a filter, click the red cross that appears to the left of each selected term.

Viewing results

To sort the results, use the sorting drop-down to the right of the search box. The number of results viewable on each page can also be adjusted.

Once you have performed a search, the list of relevant letters will appear in the middle of the search screen. You will see the date, a summary of the letter, the author and addressee names, the location, and holding institution.

To read more of the letter, click on the red letter summary. The full text will appear in a pop-up window.

Editorial notes will appear as numbers in red discs in the text: click on the number to view the note, and click again to return to the text.

Metadata associated with the letter can be viewed on the right. This includes a suggested citation for the letter, information on the source text, and the letter ID.

Hovering over any entity, such as a person or a place name, in the full-text will launch a pop-up window with further information. To lock this pop-up to allow scrolling, simply click on the link, rather than hovering.

To leave the full-text and return to the results list, click the grey cross on the top-right of the window.

Quick tips

  • Letter IDs are case-sensitive, e.g. "Letter740423A";
  • Truncations and wildcards ("*", "?") are supported, except in phrase searches;
  • Use quotation marks to search "as a phrase";
  • Use "+" before a word or phrase to make it required (otherwise results matching only some of your terms may be included);
  • Use "-" before a word or phrase to exclude it;
  • Use "OR", "AND", and "NOT" to create advanced boolean logic (use parentheses to disambiguate your expressions);
  • Add "~n" (where n is 1, 2, 3 etc.) to any search term to enable fuzzy searching (i.e. allowing for n insertions, deletions, or substitutions).