How to search for a book

Searching for a book

The online catalogue gives access to a large part of the Royal Library of Belgium’s holdings. We are still very busy with the retro-conversion of the cards, which means that not all the works are yet listed in the online catalogue. If you can’t find the book you are looking for, please try looking for it in the card catalogues, which you will find in the Catalogue Room (General Reading Room, Level 0).

 

How to search for a book online

In the online catalogue, you can search for a book using the author’s name, the title or (a) word(s) from the title, or by using a combination of different details. We have listed more tips for you in the Catalogue user guide (PDF).

You can also reserve books via the catalogue. They will be ready for you two days after submitting your request.

 

How to search for a book in the card catalogues

There are three sorts of alphabetical catalogues in the Catalogue Room:

  • The catalogue of authors’ names. Journals, magazines, series (such as Aula) and anonymous works (without an author’s name, with more than two authors or whose authors are disputed) are arranged alphabetically by title, without definite or indefinite articles.
  • Subject catalogues You can use these catalogues if you are looking for information about a specific topic or field. These catalogues have evolved as cataloguing principles changed. There are three subject catalogues:
  • a card catalogue in French containing works acquired before 1910
  • a card catalogue in French containing works acquired before 1960
  • a bilingual catalogue (French/Dutch) containing the works acquired between 1 January 1960 and 30 June 1988
  • A catalogue with the titles of literary works acquired before 1985. The cards are classified by the first word of the title (without definite and indefinite articles). This catalogue is not complete.

Please note: the card catalogues only contain the details of holdings acquired before the end of 1984 (the subjects catalogues have holdings acquired before 30 June 1988). The details of works which were acquired later are listed in the online catalogue.

In the Catalogue Room, in addition to searching in the catalogues that give access to our own collections, you can also consult the catalogues of a very large number of libraries in Belgium and elsewhere, in paper, CD-ROM and Internet formats.