Skip to main content.
Holderness Spurn Gateway to the Earth

 BGS Archives online catalogue

How do I search the BGS Archives online catalogue?

Quick search

You can perform a quick search by using the box at the top right-hand side on the home page. This option searches across all the title and description fields in the catalogue.

Simply type the word/s you wish to search on into the search box. Where more than one term is entered, the search will automatically retrieve records that contain both terms. These terms may not always appear next to each other in the text.

Advanced search

The advanced search enables you to perform 'Any Text' field searches, and also to search specifically on certain fields:

  • Title: All records in the catalogue have a title; typing a search term in this box allows a search of all or part of the text in the Title field only.
  • Description: This is used to expand on the details in the Title field where necessary.
  • Reference Number: If you know the Reference number (RefNo) of a particular collection or the specific item you require, you can enter it in this search field.
  • Date: You can narrow your search down to a particular date, or a date range (e.g. 1837, 1910—1950, or 18th century).

Search results

The search results are presented as a hit list. If they extend to more than one page click on Next and Previous to navigate through the pages. Click on a record to see its full details.

Refine advanced search criteria

If you have entered more than one word, you can further refine your search by selecting 'Refine Search Criteria'. This gives you three options: to search only for records that contain all of your search terms ('all words'), to search for records that contain at least one, but not necessarily all, of your search terms ('any words') or to exclude from your search certain words or phrases that you are not interested in and that might otherwise be called up by the search criteria that you have chosen ('exclude words'). For example you may wish to search for records that have 'Palaeontology' in the title but exclude those that also contain the word 'Fossils'.

Example: Searching for records relating to De la Beche

Type "De la Beche" into the search box and click on Search.
Type 'De la Beche' into the search box and click on Search


Click on the Reference Number (Ref No) of the record you are interested in. In this case "GSM/DR/BC".
Click on the Reference Number (Ref No) of the record you are interested in. In this case


To view the record entry as part of a hierarchical catalogue click on the Ref No.
To view the record entry as part of a hierarchical catalogue click on the Ref No.


To get down to the level of specific records click on the plus signs at the beginning of a record entry.
To get down to the level of specific records click on the plus signs at the beginning of a record entry.


To look at a specific record, click on it.
To look at a specific record, click on it.</


To return to the hierarchical view click on Ref No
To return to the hierarchical view click on Ref No