Ordering images


British Library Imaging Services provide a range of products to suit your needs, whether that’s private research or commercial publication

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.

Images of some of our collections are already available to buy and download straight away through Images Online, so you should check there first before ordering from our Imaging Services.

To order images from the British Library, use our online order form. You’ll need the following information:

  • Your personal details (name, address, email and phone number)
  • The British Library shelfmarks of the items you want, from our catalogues
  • The title of the item you want
  • The pages numbers you want us to scan or photograph
  • The product you want, from the list below
  • How you want your order delivered
  • Your credit or debit card details

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. You should also check how you can use the images you order from us to make sure you will have the permission to use your images in the way you want.

Our products

Scanned digital image

These images, produced on our scanners, are suitable for use on websites and for private research. The images have a small file size and come in JPEG format. This makes them ideal for sending electronically and using on web pages, however some fine detail could be lost.

Paper copies

These copies are also suitable for reference only. They reproduce the original colour profile of the item, but give an average across the image’s tonal range so may lose fine details.

We supply paper copies on A4 and A3 paper, including from microfilm. Larger items can be reduced in size to fit onto A3 paper, but some legibility may be lost.

Standard digital image

These images are captured photographically and in TIFF format, so fine detail is maintained. They are suitable for items up to A3 in size.

File format TIFF

Resolution 300 dpi

Colour space Adobe RGB1998

Premium digital image

These images are captured photographically and in TIFF format. They have an extremely high resolution, to allow you to zoom into very fine detail. They are particularly suitable for larger items, such as maps.

File format TIFF

Resolution 600 dpi

Colour space Adobe RGB1998

As these files are very large, we also provide a lower resolution JPEG file of each image, for reference.

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