Quick guides

Getting started

  • Welcome

    If you've never used this repository before, these quick guides will introduce you to its core functions and assist you with finding and submitting content as well as navigating the site.

  • What is the Natural History Museum repository ?

    This is our institutional repository, or digital archive. It is intended to capture, store and preserve our research output and to make it available to the research community through Open Access protocols.

  • What will you find here?

    You will find work submitted by museum scientists relevant to their research output: pre- and post-print journal articles, technical reports, conference papers, and multimedia files.

    When you click on a link to a submitted item, you will be taken to the item-view page, which lists the key metadata for that item and links to the digital files. You can think of the item-view page as the abstract and the file itself as the full text.

Using search

There are two principal ways of finding content within this repository: searching and browsing.

The search box appears in the top left-hand corner of each page of the site, with the exception of the submission form. Enter your search term and you're away.

You will find an additional search box on each community, sub-community and collection home page. This allows you to carry out a simple search at that level of hierarchy or any level below, using a drop-down menu.

Here are a few tips on searching:

  • The site search box

    Search terms entered in the site search box will be searched against all indexed metadata fields, as well as the full text for PDFs, Microsoft Word documents and Rich Text Format (RTF) files.

  • What is not searched - stop words

    The search engine ignores certain words that occur frequently in English, but do not add value to the search. These are:
    "a", "and" , "are" , "as" , "at" , "be" , "but" , "by" , "for" , "if" , "in" , "into",
    "is" ,"it" ,"no" , "not" , "of" , "on" , "or" , "such", "the" , "to" , "was"

  • Truncation

    Use an asterisk (*) after a word stem to get all hits having words starting with that root, for example:


    will retrieve selects, selector, selectman, selecting etc

  • Stemming

    The search engine automatically expands words with common endings to include plurals, past tenses etc.

  • Phrase searching

    To search using multiple words as a phrase, put quotation marks (") around the phrase, for example:

    "organisational change".

  • Exact word match

    Put a minus (-) sign before a word if it should not appear in the search results. Alternatively, you can use NOT. This can limit your search to eliminate unwanted hits. For instance, in the search:

    training-cat or training NOT cat

    you will get items containing the word "training", except those that also contain the word "cat".

  • Eliminate items with unwanted words

    Put a plus (+) sign before a word if it MUST appear in the search result. For instance, if the word "training" is optional, but the word "dog" must be in the result you would use:

    +dog training

  • Boolean searching

    The following Boolean operators can be used to combine terms. Note that they must be CAPITALIZED ! AND - to limit searches to find items containing all words or phrases combined with this operator, e.g.

    cats AND dogs

    will retrieve all items that contain BOTH the words "cats" and "dogs". OR - to enlarge searches to find items containing any of the words or phrases surrounding this operator

    cats OR dogs
    will retrieve all items that contain EITHER the words "cats" or "dogs". NOT - to exclude items containing the word following this operator, e.g.

    training NOT cat

    will retrieve all items that contain the word "training" EXCEPT those also containing the word "cat". Parentheses can be used in the search query to group search terms into sets, and operators can then be applied to the whole set, e.g.

    (cats OR dogs) AND (training OR discipline)

  • Advanced search

    Underneath the simple search box is a link to the advanced search page. The advanced search allows you to specify the metadata fields you wish to search and combine these searches with the Boolean 'and', 'or', 'not'. You can search cross the entire Natural History Museum repository, or restrict your search to a community or collection using the top drop-down menu. Select the field to search in the left-hand column and enter the word or phrase you are searching for in the right-hand column. You can select the Boolean operator to combine searches by clicking on the arrow to the right of the 'AND' box.
    Note: You must use the input boxes in order. If you leave the first one blank your search will not work.


The various browse options are listed on the top right of the left-hand navigation bar.

  • Browse by community/collection

    This link will display the full hierarchy.

  • The other browse options

    The other browse options will allow you to browse the content. You can switch between browse lists, and choose different ordering and display options or jump to a specific location within the list.

  • Date issued vs date submitted

    The date issued is the date the work was first made publicly available, for example the date it was published in a journal.

    The date submitted is the date the item was archived within the Natural History Museum repository. If the item has not been published before the date issued and date submitted dates will be the same.

  • Browse within communities and collections

    Each community and collection has additional browse options within it. Browsing a community will also browse any sub-communities or collections within it.

Submitting content

  • Why should we submit our work to the repository ?

    Research has shown that work published in Open Access institutional repositories can gain up to 300 per cent more citations than research published in journals that limit access through paid for subscriptions. That means increased exposure to your work and all the benefits that come with it. Increasingly, more research funding bodies are insisting that work carried out under their grants must also be deposited within an institutional or subject-specific repository.

  • How do we submit?

    Submission is managed via your Elements profile. Please contact us for further details.