Searching advice and tools

There are lots of things you can do to start searching and filter down your results. Find advice here, as well as some video tutorials.

How to search the collections online

Hear from Curator Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp in this film, where to find and how to use the search features in the Horniman’s collections online:

Research strategies

Archivist Christyana Visk teaches research strategies for community researchers, to help you understand the difference between a museum collections database and an archive database.

Searching tips

Some of these principles apply to other searches too, like other museums, libraries or archives, as well as search engines like Google.

  • “quote” – to get an exact phrase match – adding words to “quotation marks” will return those exact results.
  • AND – if you search for two words – like Kenya figure – the results will return all records which feature the word Kenya, and all that feature the word figure. If I want to see only results with both Kenya and figure, you would write Kenya AND figure in the search box. The AND must be capitalised.
  • OR – if you add OR between two or more words, your search will return all records featuring those words. For example, figure OR statue OR mask would return any result with figures, statues or masks in one search result. The OR must be capitalised.
  • -word – using a minus sign before a word can remove it from your search. For example, bike –motorbike would return only results showing mentions of a bike and not motorbikes.
  • word? – adding a question mark ? to a word acts as a wildcard, to bring back multiple versions of a search. For example, searching for wom?n would return results that feature the words, women and woman.
  • word* – adding an asterisk will bring back results with all the different endings of a word. For example, snow* would return search results mentioning snow, snowing, snowy and snows.