We have materials relating to Southeast Asia in a wide range of languages and formats
About the collection
We hold manuscripts, periodicals and printed books in the languages of the countries of maritime Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines and East Timor, as well as on the mainland, from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam.
Material relating to Southeast Asia can also be found in English and a wide range of other languages, and in all formats.
What is available online?
- Digitised Manuscripts contains digitised Southeast Asian manuscripts held in the British Library, and the Endangered Archives Programme includes digitised collections from Southeast Asia
- The two main online catalogues are Explore the British Library (which can be used to search for printed books and periodicals about Southeast Asia in English and other languages) and Explore Archives and Manuscripts
- The Asian official publications guide provides information on our collection of government publications from Southeast Asia
- The E-thesis Online Service provides access to doctoral theses on Southeast Asia from British universities
- The Asian and African Studies blog contains articles on selected items from the Southeast Asian collections.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
- Manuscripts, printed books and periodicals from and about Southeast Asia
- Newspapers published in Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, some dating from the 19th century, as well as British newspapers containing news on Southeast Asia
- India Office Records and Private Papers relating to the English factories or trading posts in Siam, Vietnam, Banten (1602-1684) and Bengkulu (1684-1824); and to the British administration of Manila (1762-1764), Java (1811-1816), and the Straits Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang (up to 1867).
- Maps, both printed and manuscript
- Prints, drawings and photographs from Southeast Asia, including the Horsfield and Mackenzie collections of archaeological drawings from Java.
- Sound recordings from Southeast Asia of theatre plays, radio broadcasts, religious ceremonies, and of pop, traditional and folk music. There are also field recordings of wildlife from all parts of Southeast Asia, and oral history interviews with Southeast Asian refugee communities in the UK
- Stamps from all parts of Southeast Asia can be consulted in the Philatelic Reading Room.
Painting of a winged horse, found in the Bugis diary of Muhammad Ramadan, Maqdanrang of Bone, 1790-1800. British Library, Or. 8154, f. 3v