The Catalogue

On this page you can find out how to navigate and search our online catalogue, or you can jump straight in via the “Browse the catalogue” button if you’re already familiar with how everything works. There’s also a link which lists all the updates we’ve highlighted on the blog, allowing you to quickly find out what’s new or to see how the catalogue has changed over time.

Browse the catalogue Catalogue update history

Using the Themed Searches

Our themed searches are the quickest and easiest way to browse the online catalogue. For each theme – The Company, Artwork, Production, etc. – we’ve hand-picked particularly interesting records from the collection and included images of the original items to give a taste of what the Minton Archive is all about. Each theme’s landing page includes an explanation of the types of records you’ll encounter, a link to the themed search itself, and another to any related posts or In Depth articles available on the blog. You’ll find these landing pages via the Explore page, in the main menu, or in the left-hand menu (bottom on mobile) found on this and many other pages across the site.

Navigating through the Catalogue

By default our online collections platform shows you the details of the particular record you’re viewing, whether that’s the overarching “collection level” record – accessible from the button above – or one for an individual item. Alongside these details you’ll also find the option to “Browse by Hierarchy”:

This view displays the collection’s records in a “tree” structure and will automatically expand the “branch” which contains the record you’re currently viewing – its title will also be in bold. You can click the [+] and [-] check boxes to expand and contract the other sections of the catalogue, and click on a record’s title to view its details.

Using the Catalogue Search

You can also search our online catalogue using the search bar found in the top right corner (desktop) or in the menu (mobile and tablet). Sometimes these searches can bring back large numbers of results – or none at all, if you’ve been very specific! – so to help you navigate our online catalogue more effectively we’ve listed some basic operators you can add to your searches and how they’ll change your search results.


The AND operator can be used to narrow searches down. Using AND between two search terms means both must be present in order to appear in your results. Searching for tile returns 121 catalogue records; searching for tile AND campbell returns 55 records.

tile AND campbell
arnoux AND solon
china AND earthenware
diary AND louisa

The OR operator can be used to widen your search by looking for alternatives. Using OR between two search terms means searching for either of the terms you’ve supplied, and you can continue adding terms to further broaden your results. OR arguments are wrapped in parentheses – ( ) – to ensure they work properly. Searching for majolica returns 69 catalogue records; searching for (majolica OR maiolica) returns 70 records.

(majolica OR maiolica)
(birks OR henk OR jahn)
(factory OR manufactory)
(oven OR kiln)

The NOT operator excludes records from your results. Using NOT between two search terms means searching for your first term, but ignoring results which also include your second term. Searching for book returns 860 catalogue records; searching for book NOT pattern returns 302 records.

book NOT pattern
drawings NOT folio
comolera NOT peacock
arnoux NOT patent

The most common use of the asterisk (*) in searches is to quickly navigate to a specific item in the collection. Minton Archive finding numbers follow the SD 1705/MSxxxx format, but here on the website you can simply use the MS number by itself, prefixed by an asterisk, to return a particular record. You can also add an asterisk to the end of an MS number if it is the first or last of a grouped record, which follows the SD 1705/MSxxxx-xxxx format.

*MS17
*MS592
*MS4336*
*MS4520*

Adding an asterisk (*) at the end of a word is like leaving it open for the search engine to finish (with as many letters as it likes). An asterisk can help with plurals – searching for wage* returns both “wage” and “wages” – but bear in mind that any word starting with “wage” will be returned, so the usefulness of your results can vary.

wage*
apprentice*
photo*
ornament*

You can also replace a letter with an asterisk (*) if you’re unsure of the spelling of a word – this is particularly useful when you’d like to search for words which include accented letters as different spellings of these words can sometimes exist in the catalogue. Searching for S*vres, for example, would return Sèvres, Sevres, and even Svres in your results.

S*vres
W*se
cloisonn*
L*on

Quotation marks (“”) are used to search for an exact phrase in the catalogue – without these, the search engine will split the phase up and look for each word individually. Searching for Great Exhibition returns 142 catalogue records; searching for “Great Exhibition” returns 12 records.

"Great Exhibition"
"Patent Oven"
"South Kensington Studio"
"Art Catalogue"

All of the basic search operators explained above can also be used in combination with each other to help you get the most out of your searches. Below are a few examples of how you can use more than one operator at a time – it doesn’t take long to build two or three operators into one search string and (hopefully) find exactly what you were looking for!

book NOT (pattern OR crest OR ornament)
share* NOT transfer
folio AND boullemier NOT cupid*
exhibition AND ("dessert service" OR (Queen AND Victoria))
(Woodseat OR Rocester) NOT debentures

Search Result Refinements

It’s possible to further refine search results from the online catalogue using the “Narrow Your Search” options, shown on the right (bottom on mobile) of the results page. For example, by checking and unchecking these extra facets you can choose to include or exclude blog posts and pages (“Results from”), see only records with images (“Results with”), or see which records are included in our themed searches, including Page by Page items (“Subject”).

The Interactive Tab

Certain important items in the collection include a third tab in their record view, labelled “Interactive”. This tab allows us to share fully browsable volumes using our BookReader or to provide instances of hi-res, zoomable images.

In each case you can expand these into full-screen mode, or alternatively choose to view them in a new window entirely. Opened in a new window you’ll see that the URL changes as you navigate around, allowing you to link to specific pages or views. In the BookReader you can also use the “Share” option to generate similar links for Facebook and Twitter.

You’ll find most of these special records under our Page by Page themed search but there are others – specifically of the hi-res, zoomable type – lurking out there in the catalogue just waiting to surprise you!

tl;dr?

  • The themed searches feature hand-picked, interesting records, including fully digitised “interactive” items that you can browse and link to
  • Navigate through the catalogue through the Browse by Hierarchy tab, using [+] & [-] to open and close the tree and by clicking titles to view records
  • To quickly navigate to a specific item in the collection prefix the MS portion of its reference number with an asterisk, like this: *MS1234

Browse the catalogue Catalogue update history