User’s Guide to the Digital Scholarly Editions of Sloane’s Catalogues

The digital scholarly editions of Sir Hans Sloane’s catalogues of his collections present users with the image of each individual catalogue page next to a transcription of this page. Users can then select various elements, such as “colour”, “material” or “format” from the “entities selector” menu located on the bottom menu bar. This will highlight all examples of the chosen element. Multiple elements can be selected at once, either by selecting the desired elements or by choosing “select all”. You can remove your selections by selecting “clear selection”.

Another feature available in the editions of Miscellanea, Fossils I and Fossils V, is the “lists” feature, again located on the bottom menu bar. This feature, comprising alphabetical lists of people and place names, enables users to filter the catalogues by a specific person or place name, which link to the individual occurrences of these names within the catalogues. Currently, only the place names are linked to these instances, but this will soon be available for person names as well. These lists are linked to all the variant spellings used within the catalogues. For instance, Nuremberg is linked to Norimb, Norimberg, Norimberge, Nurimberg and Nurinberg. The majority of the entries in these lists are linked to a geographical coordinate and/or VIAF authority numbers.

The “search” feature in the bottom menu bar enables free text search throughout the catalogues. Please be aware that you may need to try multiple spelling variants of the same word due to the inconsistent spellings used by Sloane and his amenuenses, such as blue/blew, bottle/botle.

For information about each individual manuscript catalogue, please click on the “MS Desc” information tab in the bar above the image viewer.  Information about the project can be found in the top right-hand corner menu under “project info”, and also on the announcement page.


The digital editions of Sir Hans Sloane’s catalogues of his collections are a work in progress and currently do not have all the functionality that will be available in the final edition. We would consequently ask you to be aware of the following issues:

  • The list of person names from the catalogues currently displays as an alphabetical list, but does not link to pages where these names can be found in the catalogues. To circumvent this issue, please search for person names by using the free text search bar, which will return all instances. Please be aware that you may need to try multiple spelling variants of the same name.
  • In the catalogue BL MS 3972C vol.VI some of the capital letters starting the catalogue entries have been replaced with full stops (.) in the transcript. These missing letters can be easily found by looking at the corresponding image of the catalogue page.
  • The person names are alphabetised as they occur in the text, not necessarily by surname.
  • In the Miscellanea catalogue, there are currently spaces where there should be superscript, for instance, “M r” instead of “Mr”.
  • Sloane’s use of “id” [Ibid] and “the same” are not linked to the original occurrence to which they refer and do not appear as instances in the lists function. For example “Found at Windsor” appears in the next few entries as “id”, meaning also found at Windsor.
  • The project pages for BL MS 3972C vol.VI, BL MS 3972B currently display incorrect project investigator information. The correct project investigators are: BL MS 3972C vol.VI, Alexandra Ortolja-Baird (BM); BL MS 3972B, Alexandra Ortolja-Baird (BM).

We are grateful for your patience while we continue working on the digital edition over the next six months. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions during this period.