Ordering images

Digitisation of rare manuscript

British Library Digitisation Services provide a range of products to suit your needs, whether that’s private research or commercial publication

You can order images of British Library collection items that you find in our catalogues. The most common ones customers use are Explore the British Library and Explore Archives and Manuscripts.

Images of some of our collections are already available to buy and download straight away through Images Online, so you should check there first before ordering from our Imaging Services.

To order images from the British Library, use our online order form. You’ll need the following information:

  • Your personal details (name, address, email and phone number)
  • The British Library shelfmarks of the items you want, from our catalogues
  • The title of the item you want
  • The page or folio numbers you want us to scan or photograph
  • The product you want, from the list below
  • How you want your order delivered
  • Your credit or debit card details

If you can't find the item you need on one of our online catalogues, contact one of our Reference Teams, who can help you explore our collections and locate the material you want.

There are some restrictions on what and how we can copy items from our collections. You should also check how you can use the images you order from us to make sure that you will have the permission to use your images in the way you want.

Our products

The images you order are available in a variety of formats, but delivery is not included in the costs.  For further details on our pricing and delivery costs, please refer to our pricing page.

Scanned image

These images, produced on our scanners, are suitable for use on websites and for private research. The images have a small file size and come in JPEG format. This makes them ideal for sending electronically and using on web pages, however some fine detail could be lost.  Not all material is suitable for scanning due to preservation, restrictions, value, age and type of material. Scanned images can be taken from surrogate files, such as microfilm and therefore may come in greyscale and not in colour.  If you require colour images or have any special requirements, please specify these in the ‘additional information’ section of the ordering form.

Paper copies

Paper copies may be produced if required and are subject to an additional charge.

These copies are recommended for research purposes only and are not intended to represent an exact copy of the item. We supply paper copies on A4 and A3 paper, including from microfilm. Larger items can be reduced in size to fit onto A3 paper, but some legibility may be lost.

Standard digital image

These images are captured individually so fine detail is maintained and they are suitable for publication (subject to the necessary permissions).

File format TIFF

Resolution 300 dpi

Colour space Adobe RGB1998

Premium digital image

These are bespoke images captured to your required specification. They are particularly suitable for larger items, such as maps and items that require specialist imaging and for publication (subject to the necessary permissions).  Please specify your requirements in the additional information option, when selecting this product.

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