BBIH Help - Table of contents 2.8.8 Place name tree

The Place name tree is available on the Advanced search screen.

This field offers a powerful way of searching for places because it uses a controlled hierarchical language. Searches are generic, so that when you pick a term for a region, province or county, your search includes all the specific locations that we have identified as lying within that area. For example, when you search for 'England, north-eastern', your search automatically includes 'County Durham', and places in County Durham, such as Whickham.

This field should give complete results for publications of 1993 onwards and for records from Irish History Online. However, terms from the place name tree have not been applied to all pre-1993 records so, if you are interested in older works, you may wish also to use Title contains to search the titles of older works, or Search anywhere to search both the titles and the uncontrolled indexing terms applied to 1946-92 publications (and to some earlier ones), although searches using Search anywhere may also find instances where your place name occurs as a place of publication or in a personal name.

Note that you can also search for terms from the place name tree using the All index terms field, which enables you to type the place name into the search box rather than requiring you to find it in the tree. However, this may cause confusion with subject indexing terms or personal names which are also searched when using All index terms. For example, 'Reading' occurs as a subject and as part of a personal name ('Isaacs, Rufus Daniel, 1st marquess of Reading, 1860-1935'), as well as being a place name ('Reading (Berkshire)'). You may wish to experiment with All index terms and to use the Place name tree only if the former field gives insufficiently precise results.

You can read below about the principles of the place name indexing scheme and about how to use the place name tree window.

Principles of the place name indexing scheme

Places covered by the Bibliography have been grouped hierarchically under the following headings:.

1. Britain:
Beneath this term are grouped, firstly, England, Scotland and Wales, together with the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and a heading for 'Early British realms' (including those that lay partly within the modern England and partly within the modern Scotland). The country headings are followed by regions, early realms or principalities, historic counties and dioceses; beneath each historic county are listed the places lying within it that occur in the database.

Particular places in England, Scotland and Wales are listed beneath the county in which they lay according to Bartholomew's Survey Gazetteer of the British Isles, 9th edn., 1943 ('new' counties created in 1974 and 1975 are also listed but are used to index only items relating to the administrative history of the 'new' counties; particular places are NOT grouped under the 'new' counties; the same rule applies to early realms such as Mercia, Dalriada or Deheubarth). An exception is made for London: places within the current Greater London which lay outside London in 1943 are indexed under London (and under their current London boroughs) AND under the counties in which they lay in 1943.

2. Ireland: .
Beneath this term are grouped, firstly, the early Irish kingdoms, the Irish provinces (with the appropriate historic counties beneath each) and dioceses; a separate term, 'Northern Ireland' covers the six counties which remained part of the United Kingdom following the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, but these counties are also grouped under 'Ulster' in the provinces section.

Particular places are listed beneath the county in which they lay according to Bartholomew's Survey Gazetteer of the British Isles, 9th edn., 1943 (although early realms such as Bréifne are included in the scheme, particular places are NOT grouped under them).

3. Other countries: .
The hierarchy of places is based on the 1992 edition of the Times Atlas. Jurisdictions which did not exist at that time (e.g. 'Soviet Union', 'Holy Roman Empire') are also used for indexing items which deal specifically with British or Irish relations with those jurisdictions during their existence, but more specific locations are not grouped beneath them; they are grouped under the jurisdiction applying in 1992 (e.g. 'Russian Federation', 'Georgia, republic of', 'Germany')

Hint: The 'Imperial and Commonwealth' heading, which appeared at the top level of the place name tree in the RHS Bibliography, has been moved to the Subject tree. This makes it easier to search for specific locations, such as India or Massachusetts, and then to use the 'Imperial and Commonwealth' subject term to restrict your results to records dealing with those locations in the context of Imperial and Commonwealth history.

Hint: The terms for the 'United Kingdom' that existed in the RHS Bibliography place name hierarchy have not been used in BBIH. To search for the whole of the United Kingdom, we recommend that you omit any place indexing term, but, if this gives results that are too wide (e.g. you are searching for 'Missions' but wish to exclude overseas material), try using 'Britain' or 'Britain OR Ireland'.

How to use the place name tree window

To open the place name tree, click on All places next to Place name tree on the Advanced search page. The tree is then displayed with the top level terms in the left-hand column. You can click on a term to drill down to a lower level (1 in the screenshot below) and you can select a term for inclusion in your search at any point by marking the selection box (2). Once you have selected a term, any terms below it in the hierarchy will be automatically included in your search.

Alternatively, enter the name of the place in which you are interested (or the start of the name) into the search box at the top of the window and click Search in tree (6). You will then see a list of all the place names that contain the string that you have entered (so a search for Hampstead matches not only 'London, Camden: Hampstead' but also 'Finchampstead (Berkshire)'). You will also see the preferred forms of any non-preferred names that contain the string that you have entered (so a search for Forfar will match 'Angus', because that is our preferred version of the name of this Scottish county). After you have searched the scheme in this way, you cannot see the hierarchy above or below the listed terms but, once you have carried out your search, the terms are displayed in their hierarchical context on the Record view screen. Once you have chosen a term for inclusion in your search, mark the selection box next to the term.

You can select multiple terms. The terms that you have selected are displayed at the top of the window; you can unmark the checkbox next to any term that you wish to remove from your selection (3).

By default, if you have selected more than one term, they are connected with a Boolean 'OR' which means that your search will return records that contain any of your selected terms. However, you can use the radio buttons above the summary of selected terms to change the Boolean operator between them to 'AND' so that your search will return only records that contain all of your selected terms (4).

Once you are happy with your selection, click the Insert/Close button (5) to insert your terms into the search form.

Hint: You must wait for any term that you have chosen to appear in the summary at the top of the window before you click Insert/Close, otherwise your selection will not be transferred to the search form.

Hint: Once you have returned to the search screen, if you want to empty or re-edit the contents of the Place name tree field without clearing the whole form, click on the field to re-open the Place name tree window. Then, in the summary at the top of the window, empty the checkboxes next to any of the terms that you want to remove and click on Insert/Close to return to the search screen.

Hierarchical placename tree