You may also want to try searching Google Books. Google Books contains digitzed books--some in copyright, some out of copyright. What's useful about this is that you can search the entire text of a book, so entering a specific term will bring back things that contain that term. Even if the book is in copyright (and therefore not available online) you can use it to identify texts that we may have at Fairfield or which you can request via interlibrary loan.
Make sure you check your library’s catalogue to see what your own university has!
It’s a good idea to search the websites and online catalogues of libraries that specialize in London history. If nothing else, a catalogue lets you know that a book or article exists. You may then be able to order copies of critical monographs and articles (although not rare books) through your own library’s interlibrary loan service.
You can also derive a lot of useful information from the catalogue entries, especially about manuscript sources. Although you won’t be able to call up manuscripts from these libraries without actually going to the library, the metadata in the catalogue is often sufficiently detailed to give you the information you need (e.g., a date, a name, a transfer of ownership).
Some library catalogues now include scans or photographs of selected materials, which means you can do some primary research without even leaving your desk. At MoEML, we use the following libraries’ online catalogues regularly. All three offer lists and descriptions of primary and secondary sources.
· Institute for Historical Research (which houses the collection of the Centre for Metropolitan History). See also the guide to their Maps collection