Free dataset downloads

Download a free selection of datasets and supporting documentation to use for your library or research. These datasets include the British National Bibliography in a range of formats.

Files are distributed under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication licence. Please read our terms and conditions.

Linked open data

Please note that the Linked Open BNB has found a new (beta) home with the Share Family at:

We intend to discontinue producing the files below as they are structured to a different earlier data model. Access to the data via data dumps or SPARQL endpoint will be provided from the new system in the future.

Bulk downloads, serialized as N-TriplesRDF/XML or Turtle (ttl) are available below for published and forthcoming books and serials eligible for BNB.

These ZIP files include multiple files and a PDF document and are updated monthly. You can find the models, schema and URI patterns on the BNB Linked Data Platform.

British National Bibliography

Files last updated: August 2023.

Knowledge Organizations: experimental release

This is an experimental linked data release of the MARC organization codes and ISILs that the British Library assigns to organizations in the UK, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Please note that the URIs used in the dataset are provisional and do not resolve; fuller documentation is available in this document (PDF 626 KB)

Files last updated: July 2023.

Open RDF/XML data

These versions of the datasets are structured using a basic form of RDF/XML. They do not contain URIs and are not primarily intended for use in a linked data environment. These ZIP folders include multiple files and a PDF document.

Researcher Format (CSV) datasets

Our themed datasets are available in comma-separated value (CSV) format for you to analyse the data using utilities or applications such as Open Refine. We produce these files in response to: requests from researchers, projects and British Library exhibitions.

CSV datasets consist of up to 5 files, each providing a different view of the data; the views focus on bibliographic records, titles, names, topical terms or Dewey classification. A ‘readme’ file accompanying each dataset provides details of file contents. More detailed information about the source data for each column can be found in this document.

You can download the following CSV datasets of metadata for resources relating to people or topics. The resources are from the BNB and the British Library's collections. All of the ZIP folders below include multiple CSV files, a readme.txt file and a PDF document summarising terms and conditions of use of the data.

History datasets

  • Alexander the Great CSV (ZIP 1,987 KB). Updated September 2023. Initially released to accompany the British Library's exhibition “Alexander the Great: The Making of a Myth” - 21st Oct. 2022-19 Feb. 2023. 
  • Black History Month CSV (ZIP 9,444 KB) Updated October 2022. Initially released to coincide with Black History Month 2016.
  • Cotton Manuscripts collection CSV (ZIP 1,739 KB) Updated December 2017. Metadata for the British Library's Cotton Manuscripts collection.
  • Great Fire of London CSV (ZIP 1,883 KB) Updated August 2023. Initially released in September 2016 to coincide with the 350th anniversary of the fire.
  • History of Magic CSV (ZIP 11,495 KB) Updated June 2023. Initially released in September 2016 to coincide with the 350th anniversary of the fire.
  • India Office Medical Archives CSV (ZIP 1,793 KB) Updated May 2019. Metadata created during the India Office Medical Archives Project, 2015-2016.
  • James Cook CSV (ZIP 2,014 KB) Updated April 2023. Initially released in April 2018 to accompany the British Library's exhibition James Cook: The Voyages, marking 250 years since Cook set sail from Plymouth aboard HMS Endeavour.
  • Karl and Eleanor Marx CSV (ZIP 11,822 KB) Updated May 2023. Initially released in May 2018 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth.
  • Leonarda Da Vinci CSV (ZIP 2,655 KB) Updated May 2023
  • Magna Carta CSV (ZIP 4,473 KB) Updated June 2023. Initially released in 2015 to accompany the British Library's exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy.
  • Women's rights CSV (ZIP 30,597 KB) Updated February 2023. Initially released in 2021 to accompany the British Library's exhibition “Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights”

Literature datasets

Music datasets

  • British Library printed music CSV (ZIP 281,582 KB) Updated May 2015. Records for printed music held at the British Library. Another version of this dataset is available in basic RDF/XML format.
  • British Library manuscript music CSV (ZIP 665 KB) Updated September 2015. Records for manuscript music held at the British Library.
  • History of Music CSV (ZIP 424,346 KB) Updated October 2022. Records for printed music held at the British Library.

Other datasets