Tips for Searching our Collections

The Linnean Society Collections can be searched using three distinct online platforms:

  • The Library catalogue
  • The Archives catalogue
  • The Online Collections

These platforms do not talk to each other, but should be used in tandem to enrich the search.

The Library Catalogue

Our Library catalogue is hosted by IS Oxford. The Library catalogue was the first online catalogue to list Linnean Society collections. It contains:

  • Books, including rare books
  • Journals (cataloguing ongoing)
  • Paintings and engravings
  • Photographs
  • Society Papers (scientific papers presented at meetings of the Linnean Society)

The Help section gives tips on searching the catalogue.

The Library catalogue is also part of Library Hub. However, we only update Library Hub quarterly, so researchers should use our own catalogue for the most accurate results.

Works by and about Carl Linnaeus are also searchable within the Linnaeus Link Union Catalogue.

The Archives Catalogue

We use Axiell's Calm catalogue, which contains the following key collections:

  • Linnaean manuscripts
  • Correspondence of Sir James Edward Smith
  • Manuscript sequence
  • Certificates of recommendation
  • Society Papers (scientific papers presented at meetings of the Linnean Society)
  • Bound and Loose letters.

The online catalogue provides tips for searching.

The Digitised Collections

The Online Collections contain digitised images of some of the collections, which have also been catalogued on either the Library or Archives catalogue. It is worth combining a search of the Online Collections with a search of both these catalogues, as there will be more information on the catalogue records.

Looking for a Fellow

Many of our enquiries pertain to biographical and genealogical research related to our Fellows.

The easiest way to start a search is to put the name of the Fellow in the right hand side search box in the Archives catalogue or search the Library catalogue.

Typically, if a person was a Fellow of the Linnean Society, we may have the following documents in our collections:

  • a Certificate of Recommendation, signed by several Fellows recommending the person to the Fellowship. These have been catalogued but not digitised.
  • If the Fellow submitted a paper to be read at one of the Society's meetings, we may have its manuscript in the Society Papers, which are listed in both the Archives and the Library catalogues (under SP). These have been catalogued but not digitised.
  • Our holdings may include a portrait, such as a photograph (PP or PPL) or an engraving (EP): these will come up in a Library catalogue search. These have been catalogued but not digitised.
  • If the Fellow corresponded with another prominent Fellow of the Society, it will come up by searching the Archives catalogue, either in the Smith correspondence or in the Manuscripts Sequence, which holds many other collections of correspondence. The Smith correspondence has been digitised.
  • If the Fellow sent a letter to the Linnean Society, it will come up by searching the Archives catalogue, in either the Bound or Loose Letters. These have been catalogued but not digitised.

Please be aware that not all our Archives have been catalogued. Staff will be able to help by searching for more material, such as Council and Meetings Minutes, or artwork, that have not yet been catalogued or digitised. For more information, contact Collections staff at library@linnean.org