What can I order?


You can order images of millions of items in our collections, but some things are off-limits for preservation and copyright reasons

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You can order images of British Library collection items that you find in our catalogues. The most common ones customers use are Explore the British Library and Explore Archives and Manuscripts.

Some of the material we hold isn’t on one of our online catalogues, but this doesn’t mean you can’t order an image from it. Contact one of our Reference Teams, and they will be able to help you find the material you want.

There are some restrictions on what you can copy from our collections and how we can make images of certain types of material.

Material in copyright

You can copy up to 5% of material which is in copyright for your own non-commercial purposes. Generally this means up to one chapter of a book or one article in a journal. You should only make one copy of the material and acknowledge its source if you refer to it in another work.

If you want to copy more than 5% of a work or use the copy for commercial purposes, you will need to seek the permission of the copyright holder who may require you to pay a fee.

A work is in copyright for 70 years after the author’s death. Generally, this means that material published within the last hundred years is in copyright.

Fragile and rare material

Some material in our collections is too fragile or rare to be copied, or copied in certain ways.

If this might be the case we check with the relevant curator and our preservation experts, who tell us whether the material can be copied and the way we can make an image of it. We will let customers know if their chosen material or Imaging Services product is not available and suggest an alternative option if possible. We do not charge for orders we refuse for preservation reasons.