Copac allows you to search for books (and some other resources, such as whole journals) in many British libraries at once. It includes most of the more important university libraries, the British Library, and many specialist scholarly libraries. As well as British institutions, it includes Trinity College Dublin, probably the most important academic library in Ireland. See a list of contributing libraries.
Copac is best for finding books in hard copy.
It is not the best place to start for:
Run a search, and you will see a list of records, such as the one below:
As highlighted above, several parts of the record can be clicked to reveal more information. Selecting the title will bring up fuller information about the book. Selecting a library from the list on the right will show you how many copies the library has and, sometimes, whether they are currently available. If the list of libraries ends something like click that to see more libraries that hold the book.
Searching in Copac is fairly easy, but there are a few things to remember:
- the same book often has multiple records. So check through the results list if at first you don't see the book in a library it is convenient for you to visit
- for some searches, it's best to go to the Main Search screen, which gives many more options. Access it like this:
Copac is a wonderful tool, but is not perfect:
It is not completely accurate. if a book you need is not listed as being in any library you can easily visit, check the catalogues of possible libraries individually.
It includes many libraries SIA students do not have access to. To check access arrangements, visit the other libraries in London guide, or the website of the library in question, or contact the SIA librarians.
Some academic libraries do not offer free access to SIA students, but may offer a day's or week's access at a reasonable price: this can be worth considering. Examples are University College London (UCL), Senate House Library and the London Library. Please do check with the SIA librarians before spending money, however: we may be able to find a free way to access what you need.
Not all libraries are in Copac. Follow the links below to search the catalogues of relevant libraries in London not included in Copac:
BFI (British Film Institute) Library
British Architectural Library
Estorick Collection (library homepage: no online catalogue)
Geffrye Museum (library homepage: no online catalogue. Library mostly inaccessible until spring 2020)
Goldsmiths' Company Library (library homepage: no online catalogue
Goldsmiths, University of London
Hayward Gallery and Archive (library homepage: no online catalogue)
Live Art Development Agency
Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture
Royal College of Art
University of the Arts
Visual Arts Library
Westminster Reference Library (no public libraries are in Copac, except the Guildhall Library)
Whitechapel Gallery Library (library homepage: no online catalogue)