Our digital collections

The Library subscribes to a variety of database and other electronic resources. Some are freely available but most can only be accessed in our Reading Rooms.

Digitised manuscripts

View digitised copies of selected manuscripts and archives including Beowulf and Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook.

Sounds Online

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.

Endangered Archives Programme

Explore archives, manuscripts, photographs and sounds from around the world.

Business and management

Download research reports, summaries, briefings, working papers and articles from key publishers.

Social welfare

A single point of access to our collections of research and information on social policy and the welfare state.

In-Library access or subscription Why is this?
Image from the British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive

Over 40 million searchable pages, from more than 1,000 newspaper titles from UK and Ireland.

In-Library access only Why is this?
A computer keyboard

Electronic resources

The Library collects a variety of electronic, or non-print items, and provides access to most of this content via subscriptions.

Featured collections

Explore our smaller digital collections that have been hand-picked and created by our experts.

Treasures in Full

Examine every page of rare historic works; compare different editions side-by-side; choose standard or magnified view; read supporting material by our curators and other experts.

Catalogue of illuminated manuscripts

Over 3,000 images from our manuscript collections of the 8th to 15th centuries, exploring art and culture across Britain and Ireland.

Early photographically illustrated books

Take a look at Victorian Britain as captured in almost 1,500 early photographic prints, including works by distinguished pioneers of the medium.

Henry VIII: Man and monarch

Key documents from the life and times of Henry VIII, the pious yet bloodthirsty king whose reign forever changed the nature of England.


Maps of the UK

A fascinating sampling of 19th and 20th century maps depicting places in the United Kingdom.

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.

Crace Collection of Maps of London

Over 1,200 maps and plans of the capital: a fascinating collection compiled by Victorian designer, Frederick Crace.

King George III Topographical Collection

Over 2,500 watercolours, drawings and prints from the vast collection amassed by King George III.

Maps of Europe

This varied collection of maps depicting places in Europe spans the 17th to 20th centuries.

Maps of Asia

These maps reflect the history of Britain’s relations and interests in Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Maps of Africa

These maps represent areas of special European interest in Africa during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Maps of the Americas

This collection represents the Library’s maps from North and South America, as well as Central America and the Caribbean.