Searching and Browsing

From Book Owners Online

Book Owners Online is built using the software which underpins Wikipedia, and works in broadly similar ways. Furthermore, each entry has been marked up in a semi-structured, semantic manner, allowing for more complex searches of entries and the ability to browse the directory in a number of different ways.



Simple searches (keywords/any words) can be undertaken by using the search box, which can be found in the top right corner of every page.

Semantic Search

More sophisticated queries of the BOO dataset can be undertaken using the Semantic Search tool. Useful guidance for constructing a query can be found here.


Semantic markup also allows users to browse entries in the database by way of Categories and Properties.

Categories flag each entry with headings reflecting the background of the owner (academic, aristocracy, schoolmaster, etc), kinds of ownership marking (e.g. armorial stamps, bookplates), and ways in which libraries were bequeathed or dispersed (e.g. given to parishes or institutions, sold by auction).

To see one alphabetical list of all the entries in the database, use the category All Owners.

Additionally, each entry has been marked up to capture a number of properties, such as names, dates of birth and death, occupations, and locations. The values of these properties have been standardised.

For example, to see a standardised list of the languages in which individuals have owned books, use the property Language.

To see a list of the subjects which are included in library descriptions, use the property Subject.

To view the images available on the site, such as photographs of characteristic ownership marks, browse the image gallery.

Where entries contain references to names which also have their own pages in the database, crossreference links have been added to move easily between entries.


The Navigation button on the top left of every page includes a number of useful links, to the alphabetical list of all owners, to the list of categories, and to the list of properties.

The Browse Properties link is particularly useful for browsing the entries in the directory. Clicking this link will take the user to a special page that lists all properties embedded in that entry and all the values associated with them.

The magnifying glass button next to the values can be clicked to take the user to a list of entries all containing that value for that property.


A permalink URL for the particular revision of an entry (thus providing a link for citations and correspondence linking to the version of the entry that the user has seen, ignoring any subsequent alterations) can be found by clicking the Toolbox icon at the bottom of the page and selecting Permanent link.