The British Library’s collection includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound. Most of our collection is freely available online, however, some of it can only be accessed in our Reading Rooms.
Read our Subject guides to find out more about our core research areas.
Our main catalogue is a great place to start as it contains the majority of the Library's collection of books, journals, newspapers, maps, scores, sound recordings and more.
Use our catalogue to find details of the Library’s unique collection items including manuscripts, unpublished documents and family and estate papers.
Our sound collection contains over 6.5 million recordings in all genres, from pop, jazz, and classical to wildlife, interviews, drama and language.
Our digital collections contain a wide range of material you can access online. Please note that some collections are only available on site at the British Library.
View digitised copies of selected manuscripts and archives including Beowulf and Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook.
Over 95,000 selected sound recordings from the Library’s extensive collection of music, spoken word and nature.
Browse our online record of all doctoral theses awarded by UK HE institutions. Free access to around 160,000 full text thesis.
These subject guides will help you to research selected subjects.
Our vast collection of heritage printed books encompasses British, European and colonial materials from the mid-15th–20th centuries.
A rich, global resource encompassing ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary manuscript and archive material.
We subscribe to many electronic resources and bibliographic databases that you can search and browse.
Our collections of historical newspapers published in Africa, are available in both European and African languages.
Use our award-winning Turning the Pages software to leaf through our great books and magnify the details.
This survey of the landscape and architectural heritage of South Asia spans the late-18th to mid-20th centuries.
This selection of maps and views traces the growing awareness of the form of British Isles and their place in the wider world from 800 to 1600.
Our conservators specialise in a variety of book- and paper-based disciplines.
The British Library collects and preserves digital material so that it can be used by future researchers.