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Search for a slide

This search will find individual slides matching your criteria, but most slides were produced in sets – for more general results try searching for slide sets.

To find a slide, enter as many criteria as you want in the form below and click one of the ‘Search’ buttons. The more criteria you add, the narrower you make the search.

The Lucerna database is a work-in-progress, and many items are not yet recorded. If you know of something that should be in the database and isn’t, please contact us with the details.

Hints for successful searching

  • Unless you’re sure of what you’re looking for, it may be better to start with a general search and then add more criteria to reduce the number of results ...
  • ... but if you make your search too general, it may find thousands of slides and take a long time to display the results.
  • If searching by Slide title, the search will (only) return results containing exactly the characters you enter, including spaces and punctuation marks.
  • A search for Image content may not find all slides showing your chosen subject, as relatively few slides have been tagged so far.
  • If your search returns no results, check your search criteria – you may have mis-typed something or chosen an impossible combination.
  • For information about how to use the criteria click the adjacent  Example of button offering online help  button.
Enter your search criteria below and click one of the ‘Search’ buttons
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Search by slide title

This criterion will find all slides whose title contains a given word or phrase.

Type the text you want to find into the box. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box empty.

This search is most useful when you already know the title of the slide you are looking for.

It can also be used to find slides relating to a given subject, but not all slides on a subject have that information in the title. For example, a search for ‘America’ would not find slides relating to the USA whose title only contains ‘United States’.

Notes:

  • The search will find exactly the group of characters you enter, including any spaces or punctuation marks.
  • Try to think of a distinctive word or phrase from the title, but be prepared for unexpected results. For example, if you want to find slides with Thames in the title, a search for ‘tham’ will find them – but it will also find Southampton, Chetham and so on.
  • Keep your search text as short as you can – as you enter more, your search becomes more specific and you are less likely to find results.
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Search by number on slide

This criterion will find all slides which are marked with a given number.

Type the number you want to find into the box. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box empty.

This criterion will give best results when combined with several others, since there can be many thousands of slides sharing the same number.

Most commercially made slides were numbered to indicate their position in a set, but this information is not always useful for identifying an individual slide (see the Notes below).

The slide numbers shown in Lucerna are generally taken from makers’ or dealers’ catalogue listings, but also include numbers written on or attached to the slides.

Notes

  • The search will find exactly the number you enter – so for example ‘27’ will not find ‘27a’, ‘277’ etc.
  • Some slides had more than one number, for example a maker’s number defining the slide’s position within a set and also a dealer’s stock number, so you might need to search more than once.
  • Some slides were only numbered in catalogue listings, while the slides themselves carried no numbers.
  • Some makers published different versions of a slide set, with renumbering of individual slides as others were added or removed.
  • Many slides were renumbered by later owners as sets were rearranged, so numbers found on a slide may not necessarily have a clear meaning.
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Search by slide format

This criterion will find slides created in a particular physical format.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any format’.

Unless you are familiar with the details of slide construction and use, this criterion may not be very useful for identifying or finding particular slides.

There are many different known formats of lantern slide, with subtle variations that are sometimes due to different practices adopted by individual makers. Some can be described and identified easily, others are much more complex and harder to classify. Most surviving slides were made in one of the two Standard glass slide formats.

Notes

  • The range of formats listed here is based on the ‘Barnes classification’ of lantern slides, but has been developed further from John Barnes’ original list to include more sub-types and other variations.
  • The list is very much a work in progress, and we aim to refine it and add descriptions and examples of the formats to make this criterion clearer and easier to use.
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Search by type of image

This criterion will find slides showing a particular type of image.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any type of image’.

Note that this criterion relates to what the slide shows, not how it was produced, which is covered by the Production process criterion.

For example many slides showing drawn images were mass-produced by photographic techniques – so in that case the Image type would be ‘drawing/painting/print’ with a Production process of ‘photography’.

The available categories are:

  • drawing/painting/print – the slide shows a piece of creative artwork, either original or mass-produced.
  • life model – a special case of photograph, showing people posing to portray a story or other fictional situation.
  • other – some other type of image not defined in this list.
  • photograph – the slide shows a photograph (but see life model above).
  • physical object – the slide’s image is formed by an actual object enclosed within the slide, for example an insect wing.
  • text – the slide shows only words, numbers etc. with no accompanying image, for example the lyrics of a hymn.
  • unknown – the image type is not known, probably because no example of the slide has yet been found.
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Search by production process

This criterion will find slides created using a particular process.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any process’.

Note that this criterion relates to how the slide was produced, not what the slide shows, which is covered by the Type of image criterion.

For example many slides showing drawn images were mass-produced by photographic techniques – so in that case the Production process would be ‘photography’ with an Image type of ‘drawing/painting/print’. 

The available categories are:

  • copperplate – a fine outline image printed or transferred onto the slide substrate and then coloured in by hand (can be difficult to distinguish from hand-painted).
  • hand-painted – a freely hand-painted or drawn image created directly onto the slide substrate.
  • mounted film – the image is formed on a sheet of celluloid or similar film trapped between two glass sheets.
  • mounted object – an actual physical object trapped between two glass sheets.
  • photography – the image is created by exposing a photographic emulsion which coats the slide substrate.
  • transfer – the image is a pre-printed transfer applied to the slide substrate (sometimes known as decalcomanie).
  • unknown – the process is not known, probably because no example of the slide has yet been found.
  • Woodburytype – a special case of photography, in which the photographic image is created by pressing a gelatine layer onto the slide substrate. 
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Search by image background

This criterion will find slides showing a particular type of image background.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any background’.

This criterion is mainly used to distinguish between different ways of creating photographic slides (including Life Model images), as detailed below.

It relates to the location in which the image was created, not necessarily what it appears to show. So for example a photo created against a painted background showing an outdoor view has a background of ‘Studio set’, not ‘Exterior location’.

All non-photographic slides will have an image background of ‘N/A’.

The available categories are:

  • exterior location – the image was created outdoors in a location that existed independently of the photograph.
  • interior location – the image was created indoors in a location that existed independently of the photograph.
  • N/A – not applicable, usually because the image is not a photograph or because no background can be detected.
  • studio set – the image was created indoors in a photographer’s studio, usually detectable by painted backgrounds and/or props and furniture.
  • unknown – the image background is not known, probably because no example of the slide has yet been found.
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Search by manufacturer or stockist

This criterion will find slides recorded as having been made, sold or hired by a specific organisation.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any manufacturer/stockist’.

This criterion is best used together with other criteria – if applied on its own it may find thousands of slides, listed alphabetically by slide title without grouping into sets or other ways of organising the organisation’s output.

To get a more detailed overview of the work of an organisation it may be better to Search for an organisation.

Notes

  • In many cases, the maker of a slide is not known for certain or has not been recorded, so this criterion will not necessarily find a complete record of everything made by a selected organisation, and may not help to identify a given slide.
  • For this criterion, organisations which made slides and those which resold or hired other organisations’ slides are grouped together in one list. This is because identifying a slide may depend on information like labels on the slide, which do not make the role of a named organisation clear.
  • Most commercial makers grouped their slide output into sets – if this search doesn’t find what you’re looking for you could also Search for a slide set.
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Search by collection

This criterion will find slides known to be held (or to have been held in the past) in a particular collection.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any collection’.

This criterion is best used together with other criteria – if applied on its own it may find thousands of slides, listed alphabetically by slide title without grouping into sets or other ways of organising the collection.

To get a more detailed overview of the contents of a collection it may be better to Search for a collection.

Notes

  • The list of identified collections only covers those recorded in Lucerna whose owners have agreed to make their contents public.
  • There are also options in the list for ‘any public collection’ and ‘any private collection’ – the latter will find items known to be privately owned, but without identifying the particular collection holding the item.
  • The list is not kept up to date, and so may not reflect the current location of a slide if items have moved between collections.
  • Some collections in the list have been absorbed by other collections (for example, a private collection donated to a public museum) but retain their distinct name within the larger collection, with slides listed under both collections. For more detail of these situations, again it will be better to Search for a collection.
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Search for slides for which Lucerna has images

This criterion will find all slides for which Lucerna has one or more digital images.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘show all slides’.

This criterion is most useful for narrowing down the range of slides found by a wider search, or if you are particularly interested in finding slide images on a given subject defined by other search criteria.

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Search by image content

This criterion will find slides whose image has been ‘tagged’ as showing a particular subject or subjects.

Choose items from the drop-down lists. If you don’t want to apply one or more of the criteria, leave the relevant boxes showing ‘choose from this list’.

About 35% of the slide images in Lucerna have been partially tagged, and only about 2% have been completed with all their content. So this search will not necessarily show you all slides illustrating a particular subject, though these figures are increasing gradually.

You can apply the tag criteria in combination with each other and with the other criteria, and it may take time to get used to the effects of these complex searches.

When you choose more than one tag, you have the choice of combining it with other tags as either an AND search (finds items that match all the criteria together) or an OR search (finds items that match any one or more of the criteria). These conditions only apply within the Image content section – any other criteria you apply will be treated as AND searches in conjunction with each other and with the image content tags as a group.

Notes

  • You can choose a maximum number of each type of subject. If you can still add another criterion of a particular type, another drop-down box will appear when you select an item in the first box.
  • The Subject tag criteria are organised in rough categories to make it easier to find a given tag. It may be worth familiarising yourself with the available categories and subtags to get an idea of the kinds of subject that can be found.
  • The lists for Identifiable person, Identifiable location and Identifiable event only show those items which have already been tagged against slide images, not the full lists of people, locations and events recorded in Lucerna.
  • This search feature is at a very early stage of development – if you have any comments on how we could improve it please Contact us.
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Image content
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Visible person (up to 2)
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Visible event (up to 2)