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Virtual Reference A-C

This is a listing of general reference sources available on the world wide web, selected by British Library staff. The focus is primarily on sources in English which have particular reference to the United Kingdom; an indication is given if the source has worldwide coverage. Most of the resources included are freely available on the web; any subscription based sources included carry the information 'Onsite access only'.

Abbreviations/acronyms | Almanacs | Archives | Associations/organisations/societies | Awards/prizes/records | Biography | Bookselling/publishing | Calendars/days/time | Concordances | Conversion tools | Copyright




  • A2A database
    • Now moved to The National Archives site
  • AIM25
    • Archives in London and the M25 area
  • Archives Hub
    • A national gateway to descriptions of archives in UK universities and colleges
  • BT Archives
  • DANGO (Database of Archives of Non-Governmental Organisations)
    • Provides information on the availability of records relating to non-governmental organisations and pressure groups active in the UK since 1945.
  • Family Records Centre
    • The Family Records Centre has closed. The services formerly offered by The National Archives at the Family Records Centre (FRC), relating to census returns, wills and other sources, are now available at The National Archives in Kew. See For the services formerly offered by the General Register Office at the FRC, relating to births, marriages, deaths, adoptions and civil partnerships, see
  • Internet archive
  • The National Archives (formerly Public Record Office)
    • For information about the national archives
  • National Register of Archives
    • To identify locations of private papers and manuscripts in repositories in the UK
  • Marxists Internet Archive
    • Includes Marxist writers, history archive, subject archive, reference writers and encyclopedia of Marxism.
  • Record Societies
  • UK Web Archiving Consortium
    • A consortium of six leading institutions, including the British Library is working collaboratively on a project for selective archiving of UK websites
  • UNESCO Archives
    • For links to the catalogue and resources




  • Australian Dictionary of Biography
    • Up to 1980 freely available online
  • Biographie-Portal
    • The "Bio-Portal" ia a collaboration between the Bavarian State Library, the Historical Commission of the Bavarian Academy of
      Sciences, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Foundation of the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland. Offering free open access
      to biographical information about famous persons from these nations.
  • Biographical dictionary
    • Gives brief biographical information for notable men and women worldwide
  • Biography and genealogy master index
    • An index to the contents of collected biography.
    • Onsite access only
  • Biography
    • Links to biographies on the web
  • Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
    • The first phase presents persons who died between the years 1000 and 1930 or whose last known date of activity falls within these years.
  •  Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI)
    • This major reference encyclopedia, comprising over 110 printed volumes,contains biographical information on over 35,000 famous Italian
      men and women covering the arts,sciences and politics from earliest time to the current day.
  • Obituaries
    • Click on the obituaries section to access obituaries from the Daily Telegraph, for 1994 to date
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
    • Onsite access only
  • Welsh Biography Online
    • A free searchable database of biographies of over 4,500 famous Welshmen and women (who died before 1971). Entries include Welsh politicians, writers, government officials and other figures important for the study of Welsh history and culture.
  • Who2
  • World biographical information system
    • Gives brief biographical details and worldwide coverage and is an index to the Saur biographical archives
    • Onsite access only


  • Abebooks
    • For secondhand, rare and out of print books
  • AcqWeb's directory of publishers and vendors
    • International directory of publishers and vendors
  • Addall
    • Searches across databases for new, secondhand and rare books, providing a price comparison facility
  • Alibris
    • For rare and out of print books
  • Amazon UK
    • For new and in print books
  • Bibliofind
    • US site with a claimed 20 million rare and used books, now part of Amazon
  • Bibliophile
    • For fine press, rare and secondhand books
  • Bibliopoly
    • For rare and antiquarian books
  • BibliOZ
    • Specialising in secondhand and rare Australian, Pacific and Commonwealth titles
  • BookData Online
    • A bibliographic database containing records of in print, forthcoming and out of print titles published in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
    • Onsite access only
  • Bookfinder
    • For new and secondhand titles
  • Bookseller links
    • For UK publishers and booksellers
  • Booksellers Association
    • Gives access to a directory for publishers and a members directory for booksellers
  • FetchBook.Info
    • New & Used books- compare 125 book stores, 60,000 sellers
  • Global books in print
    • A database of bibliographical information on books currently in print and forthcoming in the English language.
    • Onsite access only
  • Links to the British book world
    • For information on journal, magazine and periodical publishers
  • Resources for booksellers and book collectors
    • For links to secondhand and rare book sites
  • SetMaker
    • For tracing missing volumes of sets
    • For used and rare books
  • UK Book World
    • For rare and out of print books
  • World wide publishers
    • Virtual library, Communications & Media, E-journals, Broadcasters,
    • Selected Organizations