How we're improving search

We are working to make a more welcoming space where you can discover more of what Wellcome Collection has to offer. As part of this work, we’re bringing together library collections, physical and digital alike, into a single location. Here you will be able to search, browse, read and do research across the breadth of Wellcome Library’s holdings.

We have a lot of work to do, and we’ve only just begun.

November 2018

What's new?

The Platform team at Wellcome Collection, who look after our API, have been beavering away to help enrich and expand the data we have available through our search.

We have been working on surfacing that data in a clear, purposeful, and beautiful fashion, to yourselves.

  • Works now come with a richer and more accurate set of data from the library catalogue
    • The creators field has been usurped by the richer contributors field which contains more information about the contributor's role, and more information about the contributor, where the data is available.
    • Subjects and genres now use the authoritative Library of Congress and Medical Subject Headings.
    • The production of an object has now been split into production events, made up of places, agents (people, organisation etc), and dates.

What's improved

  • Search performance has been improved. When requesting 100 results, they are, on average, rendered in less than a second.
  • When following the links in the metadata of a work, results will be more specific to the field you were linked from e.g. Caricature as a subject vs Caricature as a keyword search Screenshot of the subject metadata on a work

We are always collecting feedback, so if you have any πŸ‘‚ get involved, we’re listening πŸ‘‚!

January 2018

What's changed?

You can now find more than 110,000 free to use and openly licensed images from our former picture library, Wellcome Images.

The first phase resulted in:

  • A website and search that you can use on mobile devices
  • A simpler way to download high resolution and low resolution images
  • Zoom feature that allows you to see more detailed images
  • Even more images licenced under Creative Commons licences, mostly CC-BY and CC0.

Throughout this first phase we’ve been collecting feedback on the website. Thanks to more than 200 respondents, we know that there are significant improvements to make search more effective, and to improve the quality of information about the items available on this website.

We’re listening.

What's coming up?

Throughout 2018, you can expect to see improvements to the search experience. We’ll focus on:

Improving information about works

  • Joining up digital images with more complete information from the library catalogue
  • Including information about the original object, such as its size, format, publication details, and so on
  • Making reference numbers and citation information available and clear.

Improving search and filtering

  • Dates and date ranges
  • Filter by licence
  • Search by subject, country of publication, media type.

Improving how you can manage and share your search results

  • Ways to save groups of images or records
  • Simple embed option to make it easy to use an image on another website.

For now, if you need any help in identifying items from library collections, please email

Get involved

We want to share our work in progress with you, and to get your feedback throughout the development.

If you’d like to help shape how this website works, we invite you to join our User Panel. We're looking for people at all levels of research experience to participate in the design process.

As a panellist, you’ll be invited to take part in occasional activities which help us test new designs, functionality and features. These activities may be in-person interviews, brief interactive tests, and surveys. You do not need to be present in London to participate; many activities can be done online.

Interested? Please complete this short survey so we can understand more about your interests and experience.