The British Library’s collection includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound. Many of our digital collections provide material for free online. Please come to our Reading Rooms to access material that isn’t available online.
Read our subject guides to find out more about our core research areas.
Explore the British Library
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.
Explore Archives & Manuscripts
Use our catalogue to find details of the Library’s unique collection items including manuscripts, unpublished documents and family and estate papers.
Sound & Moving Image Catalogue
Our sound collection contains over 6.5 million recordings in all genres, from pop, jazz, and classical to wildlife, interviews, drama and language.
British National Bibliography
This catalogue lists the books and new journal titles published or distributed in the United Kingdom and Ireland since 1950.
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.
British Newspaper Archive
Over 40 million searchable pages, from more than 1,000 newspaper titles from UK and Ireland.
These subject guides will help you to research selected subjects.
Our vast collection of printed heritage encompasses materials from Britain, Europe and the wider world.
Manuscripts and archives
A rich, global resource encompassing ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary manuscript and archive material.
Science electronic resources
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.
Explore one of the largest collections of oral history and life story interviews in the world.
Use our award-winning Turning the Pages software to leaf through our great books and magnify the details.
Asia, Pacific & Africa Collections
This survey of the landscape and architectural heritage of South Asia spans the late-18th to mid-20th centuries.
The Unveiling of Britain
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.
Rare and special items from the world's largest and most diverse philatelic collections.
Conservation and treatment
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.