Using search is easy. You can simply enter a word or part of a word in the search box and press 'Catalogue search'.
Check the box underneath first if you wish to limit the search to the Digital Library. This lists the material we have scanned in.
We have also added another check box so you can include languages or place (town, region or country) of publication.
The result will be a list of articles that match the term. Results are ordered by title and are shown in a new window or tab. If you don't enter any term you will get the whole archive listing. Items with no title (e.g. letters), will appear at the end of the list ordered by item ID. We don't order by author because so many items do not have one, but you can include author in the advanced search to narrow down the results.
Important note: our search is not forgiving of spelling mistakes and text entered must match at least part of a word in our records, although it's not case sensitive. However we have added a lot of keywords to help you find material by theme even if the title does not include any. Use partial words to get a more complete result e.g. femin to get records with both feminism & feminist. Entering multiple words in the same box will only return a result if the phrase matches our records precisely. For authors it is best to enter the surname only to begin with (since author Kropotkin, Peter is not the same as Peter Kropotkin in a title). If you wish to enter two words it's best to use the Advanced Search instead, and put one word in each search box.
We also present a two-term search. Add the first term as above, after selecting Digital Library only, if desired.
Then choose AND or OR (AND is the default). Enter a second term with AND, then press 'Catalogue search' to get results which match both terms in the same record.
Choose OR and press 'Catalogue search' to get results from the first term as well as any items that match the second term, or either term.
Full text search
To search the full text of any digitised records featuring OCR, but which have not yet been added to the Internet Archive (which features options to search Metadata or Text Contents), we recommend running a Google Site Search. Depending on your browser (etc.) there are a few ways to do this, e.g. by going to the Google website and entering: site:https://thesparrowsnest.org.uk/ SEARCH TERM (e.g.: site:https://thesparrowsnest.org.uk/ "poll tax").
Keep in mind that OCR is an imperfect tool and computers still struggle to read e.g. the handwriting of a young punk who scribbled a zine back in the early 1980s.