Click here to skip to content

Frequently asked questions

Aanswers to the most frequently asked questions about our Imaging Services.

  1. What are the charges for our products?
  2. Can I place an order online?
  3. How do I know if my order has been received?
  4. Can I order a copy of a book on CD-ROM?
  5. Is the online ordering process secure?
  6. How should I credit British Library images used in a publication / exhibition, etc.?
  7. What is the delivery time?
  8. Can my billing address be different from my delivery address?
  9. I haven't received my order yet. How can I check on its progress?
  10. How do I pay for my order?
  11. How do I set up an account with the British Library?
  12. Are there copyright restrictions that inhibit the copying of British Library material?
  13. Are there preservation restrictions that inhibit the copying of British Library material?
  14. Can I take photographs of British Library material myself?
  15. Why are my photocopies of single pages? Surely you fit two pages onto one sheet?
  16. How can I find out which publications are held in the British Library's collections?
  17. Will the digital images be supplied on a CD and can I get more than one image per CD?
  18. Can the images be emailed to me?

1. What are the charges for our products?

Our price list gives details of our charges.

In common with all other heritage image libraries, the British Library charges fees for the reproduction of images from its collections for use in publications, exhibitions, broadcasts, advertising and in any public electronic media. Reproduction rights fees need to be negotiated with our Permissions section.

2. Can I place an order online?

Yes, you can place orders for paper copies, scanned copies on CD, duplicate microfilm, photograph prints and digital images with our online order form.

Help is provided to assist you in placing an order.

Also, our Images Online service gives you instant access to thousands of images from the British Library. You can search, order, purchase and download digital images.

3. How do I know if my order has been received?

For online orders you will receive an email confirmation; this will include an order reference number. If you need to contact us for any reason please always quote this number.

4. Can I order a copy of a whole book on CD-ROM?

No. We can, however, supply single images on CD-ROM. Charges are per image.

5. Is the online ordering process secure?

Yes, the online order form is encrypted; your credit card details will be securely transferred to our server.

6. How should I credit British Library images used in a publication / exhibition, etc.?

Once a Permissions rights fee has been paid, images should be accompanied with the following phrase: "By permission of the British Library". You must also include the British Library shelfmark or manuscript number.

7. What is the delivery time?

Imaging Services currently offers a Standard service level of 25 working days. Please note that the service level of 25 working days refers to our completion of the order from the date the order was placed. You will need, additionally, to allow for the mail delivery.

8. Can my billing address be different from my delivery address?

Yes, this is just a matter of completing the relevant sections on the order form.

9. I haven't received my order yet. How can I check on its progress?

 Please contact our Customer Services team for order queries, quoting your order reference number:

Tel: +44 (0)1937 546060
Fax: +44 (0)1937 546333
Email: customer-services@bl.uk

10. How do I pay for my order?

We offer two payment options.

11. How do I set up an account with the British Library?

Please contact our Account Enquiries team:

Tel: +44 (0)1937 546655
Fax: +44 (0)1937 546333
E-mail: customer-services-accounts@bl.uk

12. Are there copyright restrictions that inhibit the copying of British Library material?

Most published works are protected by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Under this Act copyright protection lasts for 70 years from the end of the year in which the author died. More information can be found on our copyright duration flowchart.

13. Are there preservation restrictions that inhibit the copying of British Library material?

There may be occasions when material from our special collections cannot be copied - or cannot be copied in certain ways - due to the fragile nature of their condition. For this reason, Imaging Services reserve the right to refuse orders for copying processes that may damage the material, or offer an alternative to the copy process specified by you. We will advise the customer in this case.

14. Can I take photographs of British Library material myself?

No, all copying must be done by our specialist staff; this is to ensure all collection material is handled with care.

15. Why are my photocopies of single pages? Surely you could fit two pages onto one sheet?

It is a condition set out by our Preservation department that all collection material must be handled carefully to avoid damage and deterioration. As such, special bookcopiers and digital scanners are used to avoid undue pressure being put on the material.

16. How can I find out which publications are held in the British Library's collections?

You can search the Library's main catalogue, Explore the British Library, to find details of the publications we hold.

Please note that not all our items are included in Explore the British Library. Links to our other catalogues are available on our website. Alternatively, you can contact our Reference Teams. We also offer a professional Research Service.

17. Will the digital images be supplied on a CD and can I get more than one image per CD?

All images will be supplied on a CD and each CD can contain more than one image but you will be charged per image, not per CD.

18. Can the images be emailed to me?

At present, we cannot email images due to the large file sizes.