Card Catalogue

This is a digitised copy of the Subject Index maintained by the Library of the Society of Antiquaries of London until 1988.

You can search the digitised cards much like a traditional card catalogue: enter your search term and browse through the cards. For a general introduction to the index, read the text below, for help with using the index click here, to search the index click here.

Introduction and scope

Library Reading Room

The index was compiled retrospectively during the 1930s, providing subject access to the Library’s entire print holdings, i.e. monograph literature as well as periodical articles. Subject indexing on cards of both monographs and periodical articles (from periodical titles received by the Library) was continued until 1988, thereafter the Library moved to computerized cataloguing.

Please note that at least since the 1970s, periodical article coverage has been selective, i.e. not every article from every periodical taken by the Library is included in the Subject Index.

Note that all monographs and periodical titles referenced in the Subject Index are now in the Online Catalogue. This means:

Only the periodical articles indexed before 1988 have not been transferred to the Online Catalogue and are therefore available only in this card Subject Index.

The Online Catalogue also contains nearly 20,000 periodical articles indexed between 1988 and 2000.

Characteristics of the Subject Index
The Subject Index is based on an alphabetically arranged List of Subject Headings, much revised and amended during the more than 50 years of its use. As the Library’s readers have always been using the Subject Index without referring to this List first, it has not been made available online.

The Subject Index is an index, not a catalogue. To be able to physically locate an item cited in the Index in the Library, the user had to consult the so-called Author Catalogue. This catalogue has now been digitised transferring all monographs and periodical titles referenced in the Subject Index to the Online Catalogue, where you will find detailed bibliographical and holdings information.

The Index has its shortcomings: many cards do not contain a date of publication, periodical titles are often strangely inverted and abbreviated and handwritten cards are not always easily legible.

Card headings
Inconsistencies in the card heading strings and their filing order reflect that the Index has been compiled over a long period and based on often very vague rules. In some instances, card sequences have been re-arranged at a later date without even crossing out the old headings.

Except fr geographical headings (see below), it is not advisable to enter a search string such as france bibliography or england antiquities roman. Instead, start with the first card for France or England and move forwards until you come to the section you require.

Geographical headings

Note that country and place names, esp. outside of the UK, are mostly referred to by their pre-WW2 names.

Apart from the UK, place-names are entered under the relevant country, e.g. Germany – Hamburg.

Place-names in England are entered under: county > place-name, e.g. Buckinghamshire – Aylesbury.

Place-names in Scotland are entered under: Scotland > County > place-name, e.g. Scotland – Angus – Arbroath.

Place-names in Wales are enterd under: Wales > County > place-name, e.g. Wales – Cardiganshire – Aberystwyth.

Place-names in Ireland are entered under: Ireland > County > place-name, e.g. Ireland – Co. Galway – Clifden. All Irish counties are preceded by Co.

The Index treats Ireland according to pre-1922 arrangements.

Search tips: Searching for cards relating to Compton in Berkshire, enter: berkshire compton. Scroll through the card images until you get to the cards for Berkshire – Compton, search for Luxor in Egypt by entering: egypt luxor.

Further details on the layout of the cards and how to search the Index are provided under Help.

Click here to begin searching.