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Free Data Services

Latest update:

Users can choose from the following options:

  1. Linked Open BNB
  2. Basic RDF/XML
  3. Researcher Format (CSV)
  4. MARC21 via Z39.50
  5. BNB New Titles - Weekly Files (PDF and basic RDF/XML)

Additionally, information and sample data for work still in progress is available from our sample data page.

1. Linked Open BNB


The British Library has developed a version of the British National Bibliography which it is making available as Linked Open Data via a TSO platform.

The Linked Open BNB includes published books and serial publications, with future releases extending coverage to include multipart works, integrating resources (e.g. loose leaf publications), kits and forthcoming publications.

Data Model, Schema and URI patterns

The data model for books is available here. [PDF format 129 KB]
[version 1.4, August 2012]

The data model for serials is available here. [PDF format 132 KB]
[version 1.0, August 2012]

The latest version of the schema has been published here.
The namespace declaration for this schema is xmlns:blt=""

All British Library URIs start with HTTP and are within the domain The full list of patterns used is available here. [PDF format 14 KB]

Access to the Linked Open BNB

The subset of the British National Bibliography, covering books and serials published or distributed in the UK since 1950, is available at:

Search service:
SPARQL editor:
SPARQL endpoint:

Samples and bulk downloads in RDF/XML and N-Triples are available.

These files are distributed under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication licence. For further details about our terms and conditions, please see here.

Data is described using properties from the following vocabularies:
Bibliographic Ontology
Bio: A Vocabulary for Biographical Information
British Library Terms
Dublin Core
Event Ontology
FOAF: Friend of a Friend
Org: An Organization Ontology
RDA (unconstrained)
RDF Schema
WGS84 Geo Positioning

Links to the following linked open data sources have been provided:
GeoNames (for country of publication)
MARC country and language codes
RDF Book Mashup

We welcome feedback on the Linked Open BNB service. Please let us know what you think by contacting us by email at

For further background on the approach taken to create the Linked Open BNB, please refer to:

2. Basic RDF/XML

As part of its work to open its metadata to wider use beyond the traditional library community, the British Library is making copies of some of its datasets available for research purposes. Files are initially being made available in a basic RDF/XML representation and are distributed under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication licence. For further details about our terms and conditions, please see here.

Please note: these versions of the datasets are structured using a more basic form of RDF/XML (e.g. they do not contain URIs) and are not primarily intended for use in a linked data environment.

  • BNB

The basic RDF/XML representation is documented in this mapping table (PDF format 68 KB). A sample and the full dataset is available for download. We upload a refresh monthly.

  • British Library Integrated Catalogue - Books

This dataset includes books in our collection that are not eligible for BNB. The basic RDF/XML representation is the same as that of the basic RDF/XML for the BNB. The full dataset is available for download. We intend to upload a refresh monthly.

  • British Library Printed Music

This dataset includes records for printed music held at the British Library. It was provided as part of the AHRC-funded "Big Data History of Music" project. The basic RDF/XML representation is documented in this mapping table. The full dataset is available for download.

3. Researcher Format (CSV)

The British Library is able to make themed datasets available in comma-separated value (csv) format, for researchers who wish to analyse the data using utilities or applications such as Open Refine.

Researcher Format datasets consist of up to 5 files, each providing a different view of the data; the views focus on bibliographic records, titles, names, topical terms or Dewey classification. A ‘readme’ file accompanying each dataset provides details of file contents.

These files are produced in response to requests from researchers and projects or to accompany British Library exhibitions.

Datasets are available from our downloads page. These currently include:

These files are distributed under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication license. For further details about our terms and conditions, please see here.

4. MARC21 via Z39.50

Access to either the British Library's full catalogue of its collections or the British National Bibliography in MARC 21. Users are required to register for the service and agree that any usage will be strictly for non-commercial purposes, such as:

  • Resource discovery
  • Learning, teaching, academic and scientific research or private study
  • Cataloguing or acquisition
  • Provision of information solely about the registered library’s holdings for inclusion in a union catalogue or library inter-lending database
  • Verification of bibliographic information and/or identification of materials for order via interlibrary loan, from document vendors or from other sources from which materials identified may be purchased or otherwise acquired

Please see the full terms and conditions - if you can agree to these, please contact to confirm that you accept them. We will then register you and send out connection details along with a username and password.

In order to access our Z39.50 databases you will need to use a Z39.50 client - these are incorporated in commercial Library Management Systems, or you can choose to install a standalone client such as:

Configuration server settings are also available to assist in setting up connections.

If you just need to access our catalogues online, please go direct to a comprehensive list of available catalogues.

Follow the latest developments about our data services on Twitter at or follow BLMetadata.

For further information please contact:

The British Library
Collection Metadata
Boston Spa, Wetherby
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BQ
United Kingdom



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