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British Library
10,000 pages on our main website
Online Gallery
30,000 treasures from our collection
Catalogue records
14 million items in our collections
Journal articles
9 million articles from 20,000 journals


Advanced searching

Our home page search gives you an overview of the contents of our four main web resources. For advanced searching, search the individual resources direct, by following these links:

Scope of search

Our home page search facility provides a high-level overview of the contents of our four main web resources. Use the tick boxes to select the resources you wish to search (the default is to all four). If you only want to search a single resource, we recommend that you search it individually - see the links under "Advanced searching" above.

The four resources searched are:

British Library web pages
Searches 10,000 web pages from the main British Library website. You can also browse the pages using the links on our home page or the site map.

Online Gallery
Searches 30,000 images from Online Gallery: virtual books and online exhibitions featuring items from all over the world.

Catalogue records
Searches the Explore the British Library , which contains records for 14 million items, including books, serials, printed music and maps. Copies of some items in this catalogue are available for purchase. Nearly all are available to view in our Reading Rooms.

Journal articles
Searches records of over 9 million articles published, during the last five years, in the 20,000 most heavily requested journals at the British Library. All articles are available for electronic delivery from the BLDSS service; prices depend on delivery method and copyright charges.

Many of our specialist catalogues are not yet included in the home page search. Searching these will give you a more complete picture of what we have available.

Search tips

Enter search terms (any word or the name of a person or place) without punctuation or linking words such as "and", for example "marks spencer". The search will automatically look for records including all your search words. If you get too few results, try searching with fewer words.

At present the home page Search does not offer phrase searching, wildcards or searches for numerals or publication dates. Advanced searching is available in the individual resources.

Some languages or individual letters will not display correctly on all web browsers. This is most likely to occur with catalogue records and our catalogue site gives detailed advice on displaying non-standard characters (opens in a separate window).

From the Search results page, you can follow a link to All results from any of the resources. These links will take you into the full results from the individual resources. To return to Search, you will need to use your browser Back button or return to the search home page.

If demand for our home page Search outstrips the capacity of our systems, you may get search results from some resources but a message that others are temporarily unavailable. Please try again later or search the resources individually.