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Free workshops: Training programme 2015

We offer a range of workshops and training events to enable you to carry out effective research and to make best use of the Library:

These workshops are run by reference specialists from our reference teams, with the aim of helping Readers to navigate the British Library’s extensive collections.

NB: These sessions are open to British Library Reader Pass holders only. If you would like to attend but do not have a Reader Pass, please register with us.

There is a heavy demand for these courses. If you are booked on one and later find that you are unable to come, please let us know so that we can offer the place to someone else. Thank you.

Workshop programme

Business & IP Centre workshops

The Centre runs a full programme of workshops covering business information and intellectual property. Details of the programme and booking information.

 Humanities: Introduction to Art & Design resources

If you are researching the arts and would benefit from an introduction to accessing our resources the Humanities reference team can help.

We provide free 30-minute one-to-one training sessions tailored to your needs covering basics skills on library research focusing on art and design resources available in the Library.

To find out more or to book a session, please email us at:

 News Reference Workshops

To attend a news or newspaper related workshop, please speak to staff at the Newsroom Reference Desk or email us at:

Introduction to the Newsroom
This session aims to provide an introduction to the Newsroom and the news collections as well as basic guidance for researchers using the Reading Room. The session will:

    • Provide an overview of the scope and history of our news collections
    • Explain what digital news sources are available
    • Explain how to search for and order newspapers
    • Provide information on resources and services in the Reading Room.

Dates and times: 27 May (14.30), 22 July (10.30), 23 September (10.30), 22 October (14.30), 9 December (10.30)

Introduction to early newspapers: From the early 17th century to the mid-19th century
This workshop will be presented by a News curator and will include:

    • The development of newspapers from the early C17th to the mid C19th
    • The origins of the national and regional press in the UK
    • Early newspaper collections at the British Library
    • Searching for early newspapers in the British Library catalogue (Explore the British Library)
    • Digitised early newspapers.

Date and time: 10 September (14.30)

Introduction to modern newspapers: From the mid-19th century to the present
This workshop will be presented by a News curator and will include:

    • The development of newspapers from the mid- 19th century to the present day
    • Modern newspaper collections at the British Library
    • British/Irish newspapers received on Legal Deposit
    • Overseas newspapers
    • Searching for modern newspapers in the British Library catalogue (Explore the British Library).

Date and time: 11 November (14.30)

News-related electronic resources
This session will cover the range of news related electronic resources available at the BL and how to access this material. The session will include:

    • Awareness of newspaper electronic resources and importance of newspaper e-resources for contemporary research
    • Highlighting the various ways to access BL newspaper e-resources
    • Demonstrations of key newspaper e-resources
    • Showcasing the variety of newspaper databases including facsimile and text only e-resources, and various news related bibliographies and indexes available at the BL.

Dates and times: 23 Jun (10.30), 18 August (14.30), 13 October (10.30), 25 November (10.30)

Television and Broadcast News service
Our Broadcast News service has four years of television and radio news programmes from the UK and adds 60 hours every day. We also provide onsite access to 200,000 BBC television and radio programmes. This workshop will be presented by the Lead Curator, News and Moving Image, and will give a guide to finding and using television news at the British Library, and to television archive sources in the UK.

Date and time: 11 June (14.30)

Using the British Newspaper Archive
This presentation and short practical session offers an introduction to the British Newspaper Archive (BNA).  It will cover the scope and techniques of the digitisation programme and highlight the advantages of using newspapers as digital resources.  The talk will explore the content of the BNA in terms of titles, dates and regional areas of the UK and Ireland.

The practical element looks at basic and advanced searching, getting help, printing and some of the more advanced features such as My Research, contextual information, corrections and tagging.

Attendees are encouraged to register with the BNA before arrival. 

Date and time: 12 May (10.30)

 Rare Books - Finding Early Western Printed Books in the British Library

This workshop is offered by British Library Rare Books Reference Specialists. Using printed collection items, it provides an overview of reference resources which can help trace hard-to-find early printed material (ca.1455- ca.1900) and enhance using the Library’s main catalogue, Explore the British Library.

Resources covered include

  • Printed and online catalogues
  • Specialist early book catalogues
  • Catalogues for ‘Named Collections’
  • Published Bibliographies and Subject Indexes

Date and time: 28 April (11.00 to 12.30)

 Rare Books & Music Research Skills Consultation Sessions

FREE 30 minute one-to-one consultation sessions with a Rare Books or Music Reference Specialist are now available (Mon-Fri), covering basic skills in research with a focus on the Library’s Western Early Printed Collections (ca. 1455-1914) or with the Library’s Music Collections.

Sessions cover navigating the Library’s resource discovery tools; locating items on open access shelves in the Reading Room; identifying key printed reference sources and looking at electronic resources relevant to your area of research.

If interested, email us at and we will send you an Application Form to provide us with details of your research needs and requirements.

 Science One to One Skills Sessions

Do you need guidance on using the catalogue, accessing e-journals and databases or finding references for your science research?

The Science Reference Enquiry team would be happy to help! We run sessions (Mon-Fri) on a variety of subjects and now offer free 30-minute one-to-one training sessions, tailored to Readers' needs, covering basic skills in library research and focussing on science resources at the British Library.

To find out more or to book a session, please email us at:

 Social Sciences workshops

Clinics on Social Sciences Resources
The Social Sciences Reference Team offers free 30-minute one-to-one training sessions tailored to your needs covering basics skills on library research focusing on the social sciences resources available in the Library. To book, please contact Social Sciences.