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Senate House Library

Help using the Catalogue

How to find books, journals, and other items

  • Visit the Library Catalogue.
  • Refine your search (to ebooks, or pamphlets, etc) by selecting a document type in the sidebar on the left hand side of the results list. 
  • For a specific search, you can use advanced search.
  • If the book or journal is not held by Senate House Library you may wish to search JISC Library Hub Discover.

Understanding your search results

After you submit a search you will see a list of results:

  • Click on a listing to see more information about it.
  • Check that it is ‘Available’ in the Library (to ensure that another reader has not taken it out).
  • Take a note of: where the item is located, the name of the Collection it is in, what floor that collection is on, and the item’s shelf mark / classmark (so that you know where to find it on the shelf).

Floor plans are displayed around the Library and on the website.

What if the item isn’t on the shelf?

  • Check that you are looking in the right place. Most of our books are arranged using a case sensitive classification system called Bliss — upper case letters are generally shelved before the lower case ones.
  • Someone may be reading it in the Library.
  • It may be in the re-shelving area.
  • If the Catalogue says it’s been ‘Recently Returned’ it might be behind the Service Desk on the 4th Floor. Ask staff at the main service desk for assistance.

Finding Articles


A complete and searchable A - Z list of databases is provided on our LibGuides platform.

The Fetch Service

Some areas of the Library are not open for Library members to browse. These areas are called ‘the stack’ or the 'Offsite Store'. Items in these areas are requested via the Catalogue and fetched for you by staff. You collect them from the main Service Hall. Request items via the Fetch Service.

If you have a question about finding items in the Library please visit the Service Desk on the 4th floor, or use the Library Live Chat service. Library staff will be happy to help you,