The Database and Encyclopedia can be browsed alphabetically by academy name, student or tutor name, or archival repository name. The simple search box in the page header permits name searches for students, tutors, and academies, and keyword searching of archival material. More complex queries can be conducted using the Advanced Search link, which allows Boolean searching using the operators "and", "or" and "not". Full text searches are not possible, except when using the Article Search tab, which allows the academy histories and tutor biographies to be searched simultaneously for particular words and phrases.
The 'Jump to' option can be used as a short cut to find specific entries for an academy, tutor, student, or archive source where the id number is known. For example id 6427 under persons will find the entry for Edward Stallybrass. The 'Surman' button lists all the tutors and students in the database with entries in the Surman Index Online. The same information is provided for tutors and students under the career tab. The 'ODNB' (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) button lists all those students and tutors in the database with entries in the ODNB.
Specific advice on interrogating the individual datasets is provided elsewhere in the About dropdown. However, the following can be applied to all searches:
A search for all or part of a word will retrieve all records containing that sequence of letters anywhere in the field.
The percentage symbol wildcard represents any number of characters (including zero) omitted.
The underscore symbol wildcard represents any single character.
Full database entries can be viewed by clicking on one of the search results that appears in the left hand frame. In all cases the record display has been designed so that only those fields containing data appear on the screen. Where a field is empty, the field name is not displayed.