How to Use This Site

How to Use This Site


Our Digital Heritage Lab platform invites you to follow various routes to access our material:

  • Browse
  • Collections
  • Exhibitions
  • Search



This page shows all items on our database, in alphabetical order.

Use the sidebar filters to refine the list of items displayed. Click 'Apply' at the top of the menu after you have made your selection.

When you are viewing an individual item, if you click on any of the terms in a circle, it will show you all items with that particular term in that field. This creates new links when you are viewing an object that falls into more than one category.

For example, clicking 'Manuscript' will show all manuscripts, and clicking 'Maps and Charts' will show maps and charts, which would place the item in a group with others that may not be manuscripts.



These pages are items that we have grouped together. They might be from the same archive, or, as we continue to add more items, they will be grouped by topic or theme.



These are stories told through individual items. They may be online versions of physical exhibitions that were held in our galleries, or created especially for the Digital Heritage Lab.

As well as enabling you to browse by keyword filters (in the sidebar), the site is fully text-searchable.

When you put a search term in the search bar (on the home page, or at the top of any page) it will show results from documents (which might be the metadata - i.e. the information on an item’s document page - or the transcription) or static content (articles and introductions written to accompany the collections).

The search results page will show you documents in which the search term appears:

Click on a document, scroll down and you will find a list of individual occurrences:

Clicking on an individual image result will navigate to this page in the document viewer. Appearances of the search term will be highlighted, in both the image and the transcript.

If you wish to search for a specific phrase, put it in "double quotation marks". For example, if you wish to search for The Beatles, enter this as "The Beatles" with quotation marks. The Beatles without quotation marks will return results which contain 'the' or 'Beatles'.

The Advanced Search allows you to narrow down your search even more, by searching for words that appear only in a specific metadata field.



The following descriptions correspond to the numbers in red on the screenshot.





(1) The blue arrows with numbers at the top of the image viewer navigate through the pages. You can also type a page number into the box.

(2) The large arrows halfway down the image toggle the information panel on and off.

(3) Browse Images - Click the icon in the top-left corner of any item to view thumbnails of all images.

(4) IIIF Viewer - See below for more on this feature



Some items have been divided into contents: for example the Guild Gazettes are divided by issue. To navigate through these, you can either click 'Browse Sections' above the image, or the 'Contents' tab in the information panel on the right.



IIIF Viewer

The International Image Interoperability Framework is an open-source tool that is used by heritage institutions across the world. This can be used to view the document in full screen, and to compare it with other items in our collection or even from other institutions’ online collection platforms that support the IIIF viewer.




Most of our items have been transcribed using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) or HTR (Handwritten Text Recognition). This is to aid full-text search and may not be 100% accurate.



The material on the Digital Heritage Lab does not represent all our collections. In most cases, a selection has been made, and more material is available for consultation on site.

A major difference between the Digital Heritage Lab and consulting material on site is that material in libraries, archives, museums and galleries is organised in a hierarchy which helps staff to locate it in the collection stores. This hierarchy is often focused around a donor, creator, or series.

On the Digital Heritage Lab, material is organised thematically to enable links to be made between multiple collections. As we add more items to the platform, more links will be created.

Most collection items have a Catalogue Reference on their document page, which you can use to look them up in our online catalogues.

For information on how to use the Archive Catalogue, see our Support for Teaching and Research guide.

If you do not find the material in the catalogue using the reference, 1) it may be uncatalogued, 2) it may be in a different repository; please contact

Our museum and art collection catalogues are not currently available online. If you have an enquiry about an item in the Garstang Museum of Archaeology or Victoria Gallery & Museum, please contact them quoting the catalogue reference and the URL (web address).


Our site undergoes regular accessibility checks and the platform is designed to be navigated with a screen reading device.

We place alt text on all of our images. If you find an image where we have omitted the alt text, please contact us with the page URL and we will rectify this as soon as possible.