Orbis -- Yale's Online Catalog

Searching Orbis Notes on Searching the Digital Images Collection Finding Collection Materials  

Searching Orbis

What's in Orbis? Virtually all of the Library’s printed materials, including serials, broadsides, playbills, ephemera; bound manuscripts, all recently acquired manuscripts, and some archival collections; rapidly increasing number of prints and drawings. Consider ORBIS your first stop when searching for materials held by The Lewis Walpole Library. For other material held by The Lewis Walpole Library but not cataloged in Orbis, consult the card catalogs and published catalogs located in the Reading Room, or contact Public Services staff at the Library.

Brief introduction to searching Orbis

For general help about Basic Orbis searching click here. For general help about Advanced Orbis searching click here.

For identifying materials in The Lewis Walpole Library collections specifically, the following searches may be of particular interest:

Searching for visual materials (prints or drawings):

NOTE: Most records for prints and drawings in Orbis there is a link in the Orbis holdings record to the digitized image in the Digital Images Collection. [See below for more information about the LWL Digital Images Collection.]

Basic Search Screen: The default search is Keyword.  Enter term(s), phrase(s) in quotes, or use the various truncation options. [Refer to Keyword search hints below the blue search box or on the Orbis Help pages.]  Search results screen present either a finite set or a browse index.Search options from Basic Search screen, other than Keyword, include:

Title index for searching known items;

Author index for searching names of artists, printmakers, and publishers;

Subject Browse for searching controlled vocabularies such as those maintained at the Library of Congress subjectsCatholic emancipation or names with subdivisions Hastings, Warren, 1732-1818--Caricatures and cartoons-- as well as form and genre terms – Engravings—England--London-17  or Caricatures—Scotland—17 or landscapes

Call Number (Local) is another browse index that is useful if you want to browse visual materials at the LWL by date. For prints published in 1792, Search: 792 as Call Number (Local) or a specific year and month such Search: 792.11 or even a specific day  Search: 792.11.01). [Note: There are some visual materials that are not classed using this scheme so results are not comprehensive.]

** The Advanced Search Screen provides many options for more refined searching. All indexes are keyword. You may enter terms in any order or use “as a phrase” in the drop down list to limit searches to words that should appear together.  The advantage to the Advanced Search Screen is that you can limit search terms to a specific index – Author, Title, Subject, Place/Publisher/Date, Genre/Form, and Notes – and combine search terms using Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT.  

HINT: The Notes index includes subject terms that have been used to describe prints at the LWL. In some cases we have written a formal Scope note – a narrative description of the subject (about) of the print as well as what is depicted (of).  In other cases we have simply listed subject terms and indicated what is depicted in the image; these are uncontrolled terms and names that have been gleaned for the most part from Catalogue of prints and drawings in the British Museum. Division I, political and personal satires (editors Frederic George Stephens and then Mary Dorothy George). Again, think creatively, use synonyms, archaic terms,

In addition you have several options to filter your results:

year of publication (or range of years),
library location,
place of publication,
type of material (visual material, manuscripts, books, serials, etc.),
and language.

Refer to the ORBIS help screens for detailed hints on search options.

Year:  a specific date (enter the same date in both boxes To: and From:) or enter a range of dates
Location: Lewis Walpole Library
Place: England, France, Scotland, etc.
Type: Visual Materials
Medium: [electronic resource]
Language: English, French, etc.

For example, to search for images that depict some aspect of the medical field, try searching – doctor? Sick? Disease? Medic? Hospital? As well as specific diseases such as gout or tumor, etc. or specific medical instruments such as clyster-pipe, etc.


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Another option for browsing visual materials in the Library is The Digital Images Collection ( where approximately 13,000 digitized prints and drawings are available for view. Please note that when searching this database, the search options are very limited compared with those available in Orbis. While many catalog records from Orbis have been loaded into the LWL Digital Images Collection, a number of the images are still accessible only by title words, printmaker or artist name, and a date of production.  There is no reliable subject access, descriptive terms, genre or medium terms, or publication data. Also note that title words are transcribed as they appear on the print, so consider both modern and archaic spellings; use truncation and think creatively about abbreviations, etc.

*Please use a browser other than Internet Explorer for best results.

To go to the Digital Images Collection, click here.

For more information about searching the Digital Images Collection, click here.

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