Map Guide

What is Copac?

Copac is a free online merged library catalogue where you can search the catalogues of the UK national libraries, alongside many University libraries, and specialist libraries such as the Wellcome Trust and the National Art Library at the V&A.

You can search Copac to find materials in all formats, e.g. books, journals, maps, conference proceedings, theses, electronic resources, music and multimedia materials such as DVDs. You can also find rare and unique materials such as early manuscripts and archive materials.

Why use Copac?

You can use Copac as a resource discovery tool to search for materials not available in your local public or institution library. Librarians and researchers often use Copac to check bibliographic information.

To start searching Copac, go to: You can choose to do a Quick Search, Main Search or Map Search.

The first time you search Copac, your searching session will open on ‘Quick Search’.

If you are looking for maps and plans, then you can choose Map Search. (3rd tab).

This limits your search to just maps and plans and you can add place names and map scales to your search.

Note: Records that are not defined as 'cartographic' are excluded from a Map search. If your searches fail, use the other search forms to search all records.

Using the Map Search Fields

Place name search

Enter a place name such as a town, region, country, river, e.g.

  • Euston
  • Snowdon
  • Finland
  • Pacific ocean

Copac searches record titles, content notes and subjects.

Scale search

Scales may appear in many formats. As far as possible scales are converted to a standard form eg. 1:50000.

  • Fuzzy scale: Select a scale from the list to find records with a similar scale, most useful for older material.
  • Exact scale: Enter a scale, eg: 1:25000, to find records with exactly that scale.

Note: Not all cartographic records include a scale.

Keyword search

To include a title, publisher, subject etc. in your search use the 'Keyword' field. This looks for your search terms in all parts of the records and automatically checks for English plurals. e.g.

  • Combine a search by using the following fields and terms:
    • Place: Cheshire
    • Keyword: Railway¬†

Limiting a search

You can restrict your search results using the Limit fields:

  • Date:
    • enter a date or date range,
    • e.g.
      • 1794
      • 2004-
      • 1940-1945
  • Place of publication:
    • this can be vary a lot (or not be included), so only include it if you really need to
  • Library: choose one or more libraries from the list.

Search results

  • Your results are displayed as a set of ‘Brief records’.
  • Click on the title of an item to go to the ‘Full record’ and see more details about the item and find out which libraries have copies.

Sign in to Copac

You can now sign in to Copac. If you are signed in, your search history saves automatically, you can add records to ‘My References’ and see the latest journal table of contents information in the full record display

Username and Password

Click on ‘Sign in’in the top right hand corner of your screen. You will see the question "Which organisation would you like to sign in with? Start typing the name of your organisation and you will see a list of possibles. Select your organisation and click on continue. Enter your institutional username and password to log in. You can then search Copac as normal.

Search History

Your search history is automatically saved and dated. You can edit your search, and add your own notes and tags.

My References

If you want to add records to ‘My References’, click on the paperclip icon. This is found on the left-hand side of the title. Once you have added items to your ‘My References’ list, you can edit them and add your own notes and tags.

Help and Advice

Online help is provided using the 'Help' option or by clicking on the question mark icon beside each field.

For help or more information contact the Copac Helpdesk:

Email: (please state that your enquiry is for the Copac team)
Twitter: @copac