Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) FAQ

Is there a widget that I can use to enable searches from our library intranet pages or Virtual Learning Environment such as Moodle?

Details of the widget are available on Brepols' website.  Results are available only to users with a current subscription to the Bibliography, but, if you are in a subscribing institution, you should be taken straight through to the results of your search in BBIH, just as if you had entered your query in the Search Anywhere field of the search form.  If you are a member of a subscribing institution working off-site, you may need to sign in through your institution's remote access portal rather than using the widget.  Users with individual usernames and passwords can use the widget but will need to fill in their username and password on a log in screen.

What are metrics?

The "metrics" feature, added to BBIH in October 2013, offers a new view of the data contained in the Bibliography.  Users can quickly see how the publications of a particular author are distributed by subject or over time, for example; similar analyses are available for particular journals or particular subjects.  The version available at the moment was devised by Brepols on the basis of the metrics component of the International Medieval Bibliography; we welcome feedback and comment using our feedback form, or by email.

At the moment, there are no help pages dealing with the metrics.  For the time being, we will attempt to provide answers to users' questions here.

Some of my publications are missing from my author profile. What should I do?

The Bibliography aims to be comprehensive, so please let us know about missing publications using the feedback form.  However, please bear in mind the following:

·         Very recent publications may be in our database already, but undergoing verification and indexing prior to inclusion in the published version.  Please note that we cannot include information about forthcoming publications.

·         Your name may have been recorded in different ways.  Please check to see if an alternative version of your name has also been used and, if you find one, please let us know so that we can consolidate the names in future releases.

·         Remember that the Bibliography covers only British and Irish history, together with relations with the empire and Commonwealth.

Why do the numbers for records on a particular subject shown in the metrics not match those found by searching using the Subject tree?  Why do the metrics suggest that major subject areas, such as "Economic history" or "Political and constitutional", are not very well represented in the Bibliography?

When you use the Subject tree to search the database, search results cover not only records that have been indexed with your selected term (e.g. "Economic history"), but also all records indexed with terms beneath it in the subject hierarchy, such as "Agriculture", "Industry" or "Trade".  This also applies if you enter a term that matches a term from the Subject tree into the All index terms field.  In the Subject analyzer component of the metrics, however, the analysis is carried out using only records where the selected term is the lowest one used from that section of the tree.  As a result, for example, while a search of BBIH for publications on economic history published 1992-2013 yields just over 40,000 results, the subject analyzer shows only about 2,500 publications on economic history for the same period, because records which have been indexed as being about specific branches of economic history, such as agriculture, industry or trade, have not been included.

Have indexing practices changed during the compilation of the Bibliography?  Does this affect the results in the subject analyzer?

In short, yes!  Terms from the subject and place name trees have been systematically applied only to works published since 1992.  Publications of 1946-1992 were given subject keywords during the preparation of the Royal Historical Society Bibliography on CD-ROM (published by Oxford University Press in 1998) but there was no fixed vocabulary and keywords were intended to complement words in the title.  We are continuing to work to map the indexing used in this period on to the current subject tree and we have taken other steps to improve the indexing but it is still not as comprehensive as for post-1992 publications.  Furthermore, only a minority of pre-1946 publications carry subject indexing.  Consequently, the results obtained from the subject analyzer will be most consistent for publications since 1992; this is why subject analyzer searches are now limited by default to publications of 1992 and later, although you can alter the starting date if you wish.

I get an error message from the subject analyzer including the words "The request has exceeded the allowable time limit", or I obtain results but the graph showing evolution over time is replaced by a message saying "Image expired. Please refresh ..."

This message used to occur when queries took too long to process. We believe that Brepols have taken steps to fix this problem. If you are still seeing this message, please let us know, using the feedback form and specifiying the query that caused the error.

Why do author and journal profiles include "Irish provinces and counties", as well as "Ireland", in the breakdown of areas covered?

This is an error which will be corrected in future releases.  The records counted as covering "Irish provinces and counties" should be included in the figure for "Ireland".

When is BBIH updated?

BBIH is updated three times a year, usually in February, June and October.  If you set up an email alert, you can register a search or searches in areas that interest you, and you will receive an email each time that BBIH is updated with records matching your registered searches.  A video tutorial on email alerts is available.

Why do British Library Direct links no longer work?

We are sorry that, following the British Libary's launch of its new Document Supply Service, links from the detailed record display to the British Library Direct ordering service no longer lead to a completed order form for the appropriate article. Instead, you are now taken to the home page of the new British Library Document Supply Service, where you need to search again for the article that you wish to order. We are discussing with the British Library whether the links can be improved.

What types of subscription are available?

Institutional and individual subscriptions are available:

Institutional subscriptions

Subscriptions are tailored to a variety of institutional types and sizes:

  • Standard Licence: Offers access, including remote, to the full information but is limited to three simultaneous users. Access is by IP address(es).
  • Campus Wide Licence: Offers unlimited access, both onsite and remote, by IP address(es).  Subscriptions in the UK are based on JISC bandings, and those in the USA are based on the Carnegie Classification.
  • Consortium / Multiple-Campus Subscription: Volume discounts are available for qualifying groups of institutions and multi-site licences.
  • Museum subscription: Provides access for UK museum staff.

Institutions wishing to assess the Bibliography can obtain one-month free trials from Brepols.

For more information about institutional subscription rates and options, please contact Brepols Publishers.

Individual subscriptions

For personal use only.

Friends of the IHR and Fellows and Members of the Royal Historical Society enjoy substantially reduced individual subscription rates. For administrative reasons, new subscriptions can be taken out only during the latter part of the calendar year and then run until the end of the following calendar year: Friends can request new subscriptions in the period from 1 October to 15 December; Fellows and Members of the RHS will receive information in their usual autumn mailing.  For more information, Friends of the IHR should email the Development Office (or telephone +44 (0)207 862 8791); RHS Fellows and Members should email the RHS office.  You can find out about becoming a Friend of the IHR here and there is information about membership of the RHS here.

For other enquiries about individual subscriptions, please contact Brepols Publishers.

What if my institution doesn't subscribe?

You can ask your librarian to request a free trial from Brepols, or you may wish to take out an individual subscription (see previous section). In addition, the library of the Institute of Historical Research offers onsite access to BBIH for all of its members.

Is BBIH compatible with Zotero?

Yes. There is a video tutorial explaining how you can use BBIH in conjunction with the Zotero reference management tool.

Is BBIH OpenURL compatible?

Yes. Librarians of subscribing institutions can send their link resolver details to Brepols, who will then activate the service for the appropriate IP address range. Other links to help you find an item or to find out more about it are also included; there are links to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the National Register of Archives, Who Was Who, Google Books, the combined online catalogues of the major British and Irish libraries (COPAC), H-Albion reviews, British History Online and Reviews in History.

Why are page numbers missing when I import article records into EndNote using the Brepolis filter?

We regret that there was an error in some versions of the Brepolis filter. Please download the latest version, and extract the zip file so as to place the file called BREPOLiS.enf in your EndNote filter folder (usually C:\Program Files\EndNote X4\Filters if EndNote X4 is installed on your hard disk, although the path name will vary slightly if you have an earlier or later version of EndNote). 

How do I confine my search to records about Ireland, London or Scotland?

The RHS Bibliography search menu options to limit your search to these areas and the dedicated London's Past Online search screens are no longer available. However, you can limit your search to these areas by selecting the Advanced search tab; then click on All places next to Place name tree in the Subject search section. In the box next to Search in tree , type Ireland or London or Scotland as appropriate. Click on Search in tree and tick the checkbox next to 'Ireland', 'London' or 'Scotland' as appropriate in the list of results. Click Insert/close . You can then insert your other search criteria in the other fields. More help on the Place name tree is available from the BBIH help pages.

If you do not want to use Advanced search you can get almost the same results by typing Ireland or London or Scotland into the All index terms field (available on both the Simple search and Advanced search tabs) but your results may include some unexpected items resulting from your search word appearing outside the Place name field.

Can I still use the old RHS Bibliography website?

BBIH was launched on 1 January 2010 and replaced the RHS Bibliography and London's Past Online, which are no longer available.

Subscriptions to BBIH are available to institutions and individuals. See above for more information.

Subscribers and members of subscribing institutions can go straight to the new Bibliography by visiting and clicking on Enter databases .

Why was access to the Bibliography changed?

The RHS Bibliography enjoyed UK Arts and Humanities Research Council funding for several years but this was always directed primarily at developing functionality rather than adding new records to make sure that the Bibliography was up to date. And the particular AHRC scheme on which we were drawing has now ended.  After much thought and consultation, the Institute of Historical Research and the Royal Historical Society decided that the only way to update and enhance the Bibliography in the long term (and therefore to ensure its continuing usefulness) was through a partnership with an experienced commercial publisher - Brepols Publishers. As part of this arrangement, the IHR and RHS increased their financial commitment to the Bibliography, but this nonetheless entailed the Bibliography becoming a subscription service.

How does the search interface differ from the RHS Bibliography?

BBIH retains the key facilities previously available on the RHS Bibliography search forms, including the subject classification scheme and searching by period covered. You can choose between a simple or an advanced search, both offering significantly faster returns of results. It also offers a number of new features, such as an auto-complete function, an auto record count per search field, a multilingual interface and extended export possibilities. In 2012 an ealert feature was introduced, enabling users to save searches on topics of interest and receive emails when new records that match these searches are added. 

What has happened to the Guide to Record Societies and their Publications (Texts and Calendars)?

These pages are now available again on the Royal Historical Society website. We apologize for the inconvenience caused while a new version of the pages was created. You can also search BBIH for the contents of a particular series by entering the series name in the Journal or series field on the Advanced search screen of BBIH.

What is happening to Irish History Online?

Irish History Online has also changed its publication arrangements but remains available as a free service at , where more information can be found. All the data included in Irish History Online up to the end of 2009 will continue to be available in BBIH and BBIH will continue to add records covering the main publications relating to Irish history and Anglo-Irish relations, but will not in future offer the detailed coverage of local history that is a feature of Irish History Online. We hope that the two projects will continue to cooperate in data collection.

I still have some questions about BBIH

For more information about the scope of the new Bibliography, its editorial team and its history, please use the links on the left. For details on how to contact us, see our feedback page. You can also download Brepols' leaflet advertising the service.