Our beta collections search

Our collections search is currently in beta, which means we’re developing the service in public for our users. It’s a work in progress, and subject to change based on your feedback and testing.

As part of this work, we will bring together library collections, physical and digital alike, into a single place. Here you will be able to search, browse, read and do research across the whole Wellcome library catalogue.

For a more comprehensive search of all of our collections, wellcomelibrary.org is still available. There you can search the library and archive catalogues for complete coverage of the collections and their data.

We will keep this page up to date with the latest information as we make more progress.

What’s new? (updated 20 November 2019)

Improvements to search relevance

Asking for feedback directly

We’re asking for your input on the relevance of the search results we're showing you. By opting to rate the results you see when you search, you’ll be letting us know not only how relevant they are, but what a more relevant set or ordering might look like. We’ll use this feedback to continue fine-tuning the algorithms that search our collections and return results to you.

Fine tuning relevance

Based on the data we already have about how search is being used, we've tested a change to the way queries are split and combined. Rather than letting results with any (one or more) of the terms appear in your results (using the OR operator between query tokens), we now require that all of the tokens appear in any result you see (using the AND operator between query tokens). This seems to be returing more relevant results, so we've made this the default algorithm, while kicking off a new test.

What are the limits?

  • We currently only expose digitised materials, so if you're looking for a physical item from our collections, you can still use the library catalogue on wellcomelibrary.org.
  • Some library catalogue data is not available yet, so there may be very little information associated with some images or not be enough information to identify the item you’re looking at.
  • Some images lack references to the item from which they were taken.
  • Our digitised archives and journals are not available yet.

If you want a more comprehensive search, please try searching the catalogue on wellcomelibrary.org in the meantime.

For now, if you need any additional help in identifying items from library collections, please email collections@wellcome.ac.uk.

What's next?

  • We’ll continue to monitor and improve the relevance of your search results.
  • We’re also adding more descriptive data, including physical details, improved date ranges, notes and location information.

Get involved

We want to share our work in progress with you, and to get your feedback throughout the development.

If you’d like to help shape how this website works, we invite you to join our User Panel. We’re looking for people at all levels of research experience to participate in the design process.

As a panellist, you’ll be invited to take part in occasional activities which help us test new designs, functionality and features. These activities may be in-person interviews, brief interactive tests, and surveys. You do not need to be present in London to participate; many activities can be done online.

Interested? Please fill out this form so we understand more about your interests and can get in touch with you.