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Early English Books Online (EEBO) Legacy version: Advanced Search

Advanced Search Tips

Your terms will be searched in all fields including historical and linguistic variants. Multiple terms within search boxes are treated as a phrase, unless separated with a Boolean AND, OR or proximity operator.  For more information about how to construct a search see the Search Tips page.

1. Variant Spellings and Variant Forms

EEBO will automatically retrieve all spelling variants for all the word(s) you have entered; if you do not wish to include variant spellings in your search results, simply untick the Search using variant spellings check box. If you wish to include only certain variants, entering a word in the relevant search field and clicking the Check for variants link will take you to a page where you can specify more precisely the particular variants you wish to retrieve.

You can also use the Search using variant forms checkbox in conjunction with variant spelling searching to search for variant forms of the words you enter; for example, a search for civil will find occurences of the word civil as well as the variations civilest , civilly and civils.

Note that if you want to search on a number of variant spellings, your search will be more successful if you use the Variant spellings check box rather than choosing your terms from the Check for variants page.

You can also combine search terms using Boolean and proximity searching, search for variations on search terms using truncation operators, and specify exact matching in phrase-indexed fields. Note that for best results it is advisable to untick the Variant spellings checkbox before executing a search using wildcards.

For more information on this feature see the Search Tips page.

2. Include Records From ECCO in Your Search

If your library subscribes to ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online), the records will display in the results page along side your EEBO records. This option is enabled by administrators.

3. Search Fields


Enter the word or words you wish to search for into the Keyword(s) box; your terms will be searched in all fields.
For more information on truncation, Boolean and proximity operators see the Search Tips page.

Record Keyword(s)

Searches for terms within all the fields of document records only. TCP subscribers only.

Full Text Keyword(s)

Searches for terms within all the fields of full text documents. TCP subscribers only.

Limit full text keyword(s) within

Select document types/sections from which your keywords will search within.

Limit to

All items: all records available in EEBO will be searched. The total number of records is indicated in parentheses.

Items with images: searches for your term(s) within records only for items that have document images available to be read on screen or downloaded in PDF format. The total number of items that have had images scanned to date is indicated in parentheses. New images are added to EEBO on a regular basis.

Items with keyed full text: only items where the full text has been re-keyed (only available to TCP subscribers). The total number of items that have been keyed into searchable full text is indicated in parentheses. Additional works are keyed and added to EEBO on a regular basis. By default all keyed items also have document images available to view; you do not have to limit those searches to Items with document images available.

Author Keywords

Search for keywords that appear in the author field. In addition to author names this can include occupation, title, etc. Use the Select from a list link to browse the author index and select appropriate terms.

Note that searching on a non-inverted name form in the Author keyword(s) field will also retrieve the inverted form, e.g. you can type 'william shakespeare' to retrieve records for items where 'shakespeare, william' is the author.

Title Keywords

Search for keywords that appear in the title field. Use the Select from a list link to browse the title index and select appropriate terms.

Subject Keywords

Search for keywords that appear in the subject field. Use the Select from a list link to browse the subject index and select appropriate terms.

Bibliographic Number

Search for the alphanumeric entry found in the Short-Title Catalogues: Pollard & Redgrave, Wing, or the Thomason Tracts. A list of abbreviations used is available through the Abbreviations reference link.


Search for publisher, city of publication and date of publication. If you're unsure of the imprint details for a work, consider using the Imprint browse index on the Select from a list page.

Reel Position

Search the reel number and position of the microfilm document. Early English Books Online is the online version of UMI's microfilm collections of the Short-Title Catalogues.

Illustration Type

Search documents containing one of 14 different illustration types using the multi-select list. For more help and a detailed description of each illustration type, please see the illustration box to the right.

Customers who are joint subscribers to ECCO and EEBO should note that ECCO records contain only the following illustration types:

  • Chart
  • Coat-of-Arms
  • Illustrations
  • Map
  • Music
  • Portrait

Limit by Date

Narrow your search by date in two ways. Search on a range of years or search within a single year by entering the same year in both date boxes.

Note: Offical dates of coverage in EEBO are 1473 - 1700. However, there are a few hundred items printed after 1700. Most of these are later reproductions or reprints of originals.

UMI Collection

Search a individual UMI collection for documents.

Source Library

Search the library where the original document is held. "Cambridge", "Oxford", "Trinity College", and "Eton College" are some of the most common source libraries. If you're unsure of the source library for a work, consider using the Source library browse index on the Select from a list page.


Search for documents published in a certain language.

Country of Origin

Search for documents published in a particular country or countries.

4. Sort Results and Display (Organize Your search results)

You can choose the order of your results will display: Alphabetically by author, Earliest publication first, Latest publication first, or Alphabetically by title. 

You can also choose the number of records displayed by page: 10, 20, 30 or 40. 

5. Durable URL

Click to create a durable URL that you can copy and use later to revisit this same page and user as a short-cut. Access to the durable URL is based on authentication into your organization's EEBO account.



Advanced Search



In EEBO the illustration search will help you find documents that contain one or more of the 14 different illustration types listed below. You can then preview the illustrations and navigate easily between each illustration within a document. Illustrations are not individually indexed. A search for keyword: Queen Elizabeth and illustration type: portrait will retrieve documents containing portraits in which "Queen Elizabeth" appears in the record or full text; it will not retrieve portraits of Queen Elizabeth only.

Available types include:

Chart - An opaque sheet that displays information in a graphic or tabular form.

Coat of arms - A symbolic emblem of heraldic bearings; usually consists of a crest and motto.

Forms - Material that have blank spaces to be filled in by hand. Often pertaining to legal or church issues.

Genealogical tables - A graphic depiction of the line of descent of a family. (For example: A family tree.)

Illustrations - Any graphic representation not specifically listed in other descriptions.

Map - A representation, normally to scale and on a flat medium, of a selection of material or abstract features on, or in relation to, the earth's surface or the surface of any other celestial body.

Music - Musical notations (i.e. staff, clef sign, notes, etc.)

Plan - A drawing showing relative positions on a horizontal plane (e.g. relative positions of parts of a building; a landscape design; a graphic representation of a military manoeuvre; etc.)

Printer's mark - Colophon - decorative device or insignia identifying the printer found at the end of the work.

Printer's mark - Title page - decorative device or insignia identifying the printer found on the title page.

Portrait - A picture of a person or group of persons.

Title page border - decorative elements (frequently repeated) that enclose title page information.

Plates - Items inserted into the regular numbering and signatures of the book--they are either unnumbered entirely or have a separate numbering of their own. Plates are single-sided and sometimes fold-outs, and the other side of the page is often blank.

Symbols - i.e. scientific and mathematical formulae, astrological symbols.