Search Help

Read this page for tips, tricks and general information about using the Collex interface in 18thConnect.

Searching 18thConnect

18thConnect shares resources with its sister Collex sites, NINES and MESA. By default your searches will return 18thConnect items only (that is, resources dating from the long eighteenth century) but you have the option of choosing any combination of ‘federations’ for a more inclusive search.  The check boxes for including sister federation are found at the top of the right-hand column on your screen.

Because 18thConnect searches are powered by a faceted browser, short, one-word queries can be more helpful than phrases. Adding new terms, or constraints, allows you to narrow in on the materials most relevant to your research. Initial constraints include title words, author, editor and publisher names, as well as four-digit years. Once you’ve begun your search, be sure to check the right-hand column for other ways to browse 18thConnect materials:

  • Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Projects: These peer-reviewed resources represent the best of digital scholarship on the web.
  • Other Digital Collections: Large archives of primary source materials, some of which require subscription for full access.
  • Library Catalogs: Citations from select libraries with robust collections in nineteenth-century studies. Our goal is to add full-text searching to these items as libraries continue to digitize their collections.
  • Journals: Select periodicals (both Free Culture and Subscription-based) that have been aggregated by 18thConnect.
  • Genre: To enable better browsing, 18thConnect contributors are required to assign at least one genre to their digital objects from an approved list.
  • Free Culture: MESA, NINES, and 18thConnect are committed to encouraging and sustaining open-source, open access projects. Add this constraint to peruse freely available content.
  • Full Text: 18thConnect has been given full access to these resources for the purpose of indexing and providing helpful search results. Please note that access to some of these archives requires institutional subscription.

Basic free-form searches provide a search-suggest drop-down menu as you type, showing you possible returns in the index, as well as the number of digital objects in which they are referenced. This allows you to discover alternate spellings or similar terms. If you would like to select one, simply move you cursor down the list, click on it, and it will appear in the search blank.

For best results when searching for proper names, start your search by typing the subject’s last name (e.g.: “Darwin”).

Saved Searches

Although the 18thConnect search interface is available to all users, setting up a free account grants you access to a number of useful options and tools. Saved searches allow you to keep track of your most frequent or relevant searches with one click, or share them with your peers. And, because we save the constraints you used (not the content of the search itself), your saved searches will be updated with new material every time a new resource is added to 18thConnect. Your saved searches can be found in your personalized My18th page.

Collecting Objects

When you are signed in to your account, you will have the option to collect items of interest to you. Once collected, you can tag these items, discuss them with others in the forum, and exhibit them in an essay or annotated bibliography of your own.


If you have other questions or need help, please e-mail us at: