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Known issues

These issues have been raised with our supplier and are being investigated.

 Browser compatibility

There may be some functionality and small display issues with some browsers, for details of compatibility, see About Explore the British Library.

If you are having major problems and are unable either to:

You should note that that Explore the British Library requires that your browser is:

If these three settings are as above and you are still experiencing problems can you please supply us with details of your PC/Laptop:

  • Internet Browser; including version number (e.g. IE8)
  • Operating system; including version number (e.g. Windows XP, Version 5.1. Service pack 3)

It would also be helpful if you could provide a step-by step scenario of the actions you take and the system responses, so we can see where the problem is occurring.

In the meantime, if you need to order items, please contact our Customer Services department, who can order on your behalf, their details are:

Registered readers, contact:

Guests and customers of our document supply services, contact:

Customer Services are open: Monday - Friday 08.30-17.00 and Saturday 10.00-16.00


Searching for shelfmarks

If your search fails, try removing all the punctuation.


Not finding records for items that the Library holds

There are three reasons why you might not be able to find an item you know we have.

  1. The catalogue groups related works, seen under a 'X related resources' links in your results list. The record you require may not be visible unless you click the 'related resources' link. Note that the rules governing grouping need further refinement.

  2. You can sort a list of results by date-newest and date-oldest. However, because the catalogue groups together related items you may find only one of the grouped items is sorted correctly.

    For example the list of results for a search of
    Magritte Rene catalogue
    includes 6 related works for the item ' Rene Magritte : catalogue raisonne / edited by David Sylvester'. The grouped record that displays in the list of results is dated 1997. If the results are sorted by date-newest this item will file between 1996 and 1998. However, not all of the 6 related items were published in 1997.

  3. Some specific index searches are 'sticky' which means subsequent searches will be restricted by the index previously selected, which will affect the results found.
    Sticky searches are:
    • Author / contributor
    • Tags

    For example, you may click an author / contributor link in the 'Details' tab of a record, to search for other items by that author/contributor. Thereafter, all subsequent searches will have the same author / contributor index applied and you may not see the results you expect.

    To clear the index, click 'Explore Home', on the navigation bar, before you carry out another search.

Ordering items - Go button problem

The 'Go' button fails to bring back a result after you have logged in/out. You will see a blank window with the term 'transparent pixel'.

Check that there isn't another window or tab open that contains the details of the record. If there is then close it & try the Go button again. If that fails close the browser (for all open windows) completely and start again.

If that fails and you wish to report that you have such a problem we need to know your PC/Laptop:

  • Internet Browser; including version number (e.g. IE8)
  • Operating system ; including version number (e.g. Windows XP, Version 5.1. Service pack 3)

Requesting articles

Registered readers wanting to request copies of articles, which are not available electronically, have to search for the journal/conference/book title. Occasionally the title search will return no results. As a result, readers will be unable to order the item to a reading room.

The normal ordering links are not available because the article record does not hold enough information; we are working to improve this. It may be possible to order the item to your home or office via our Document Supply Service, a fee paying service.


Note that whilst you can immediately see any tags you have assigned to a record under 'My tags for this item', you cannot search for these tags until Explore the British Library is updated.

'Times cited' tab fails to display correctly

Although the information in the 'Times' cited tab fails to display you can still click the 'View citation' or 'View record' links and access the information on Scopus or Web of Science's website.

'View all versions' link only displays one record

The Primo Central system behind 'Explore further' contains circa 400 million records. We have chosen to include in 'Explore further' only those records in collections that are freely available or to which the Library subscribes. The 'view all versions' link appears if there are other versions of the record in Primo Central; it does not take into account whether these records are in the collections we have chosen for 'Explore further'.

Date-oldest sort is not working

The date-oldest sort option does not work on the records in 'Explore further'.

Only one 'save citation' options works for recommended articles

Currently you can only save citations of recommended articles to Refworks.