This catalogue contains two databases. The first is the cartoons database containing information about the cartoons we hold, such as caption, artist, publication, date and description. The second is the person database which contains information about people depicted in the cartoons and links through to the cartoons in which that person is depicted.

You will find below search tips for searching both the cartoons database and the persons database. Please note that the catalogue is a work in progress and if you cannot find what you are looking for please contact us.

Please note that books held by the British Cartoon Archive are catalogued on the University of Kent Library catalogue. Select ‘Search eveything’ and then narrow down the results by selecting ‘books’ as the resource type.

Searching the cartoons database

Quick search
You can perform a quick search by using the search box in the top right hand corner of the Catalogue page.

The quick search will only search across the Artist/Creator, Title and Publication fields in the catalogue records.

Advanced search
To perform a refined search of the cartoons database you can choose to undertake an ‘advanced search: cartoons’ using the button on the left hand menu. You can search using more than one field at a time.

Any text: The advanced search enables you to perform a search across all fields that are populated in a catalogue record (using the ‘Any text’ field).

Artist or Creator: If you want to search for material drawn or created by a particular cartoonist or artist enter their name in the ‘Artist or Creator’ field. You can search using pen names (e.g. Mac) or full name (e.g. Stan McMurtry). Enter the name in the first name last name format.

Title or Caption: Use this field to narrow your search to words only used in the title or caption of a cartoon. Please note that some cartoons are not captioned so you may want to try using an ‘embedded text or transcript’ field instead (see below).

Embedded text or transcript, Subject and Notes fields: Searching in these fields is likely to return the most results. The ‘embedded text or transcript’ field contains text which was embedded in the cartoon but is not a formal caption. Cartoons are also ‘tagged’ with one or more subjects (e.g. ‘referendum’, ‘football managers’). ‘Notes’ has been used to record additional information about the cartoon or artist.

Date: You can refine your search by entering a year, month, or day. You can also search by date range (e.g. 1997-1999, 19th century, August 1940). You can refine your search results to return records only from the date you have specified by using the ‘refine search criteria’ option and entering the date or date range in a search box ‘with all the words’.

Publication: Use this field to search for cartoons from a particular publication. For example, The Guardian, Daily Herald.

Format: Use this field to select the type of material that you are interested in, such as artwork, Christmas card, newspaper, annual. You can either refine your search criteria by entering search text and then refining by category, or you can use this menu to browse all the material of a particular category (such as all the objects in the collections).

Reference number: If you know the reference number of an item you are looking for you can enter it in this field. Please note that the Carl Giles Collection includes ‘alternative reference numbers’ (beginning GA). You will need to enter these GA references in an ‘any text’ field.

Subject: Most cartoons have been indexed by subject. You can click on the ‘subjects’ button to browse a list of the subjects used. Click on a subject for that subject to be added to the search box, and click the ‘search’ button.

Refine advanced search criteria
By default, a search will look for the word or words you have entered. However you can choose to change the default search criteria by clicking the ‘Refine Search Criteria’ option. There are three ways to refine the search option:
  • With all the words
  • With at least one of the words
  • Without the words
Sorting your search results

Use the picklist in the bottom right corner to select how many records are displayed at one time (between 5 or all).

Results are presented in Reference Number order. To sort your results differently (by date, for example) click on the field’s column heading by the white arrow. Sorting other than by reference number is not possible if you have over 4000 results so you might want to then return to ‘advanced search’ and narrow your search.

Searching the persons database

The person database contains entries for people depicted in cartoons that we hold, or people referred to in the cartoons we hold. To perform a search of the person database you can choose to undertake an ‘advanced search: persons depicted’ using the button on the left hand menu. You can search using more than one field at a time. Any text: The advanced search enables you to perform a search across all fields that are populated in a person (using the ‘Any text’ field), including ‘name’, ‘also known as’, ‘about’, ‘person name’ and ‘date’ (indicating the date of birth and death of the person depicted). Forenames and Surname: Use this field to search for people based on your knowledge of their first names or last name. Your results will be returned in a table format. Click on the any of the results returned to find the cartoons in which that person is depicted or referred to.
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