About Explore Archives and Manuscripts

Screenshot of the Library's catalogue, Explore Archives and Manuscripts

With Explore Archives and Manuscripts you can search for information about our rich and unique archive and manuscript collections.

Explore Archives and Manuscripts contains records for the majority of our manuscript and paper-based archives, photographs and an increasing number of digital archives.

Our sound archive collections and moving image collections are not included. 


Records for these collections areas are found in Explore Archives and Manuscripts:

  • Asian and African Collections (including Oriental Manuscripts and India Office Records and Private Papers)
  • Music Collections
  • Map Collections
  • Western Manuscripts
  • Visual Arts
  • Corporate Archive
  • Sound Archive
  • Endangered Archives Programme
  • Philatelic Collections
  • Printed Collections

For more information, please ask at the Manuscripts Reference Enquiry Desk or contact the Reference Team.

Key features

With Explore Archives and Manuscripts you can:

  • find detailed catalogue information about the Library’s archives and manuscripts, and navigate to see descriptions of the collections and series of which they are part
  • see descriptions of people and places and then navigate to related archive and manuscript descriptions
  • use Refine options to filter your Results
  • order items to view in our Reading Rooms if you hold a valid Reader Pass 
  • create Alerts to provide you with updated results from your search queries.

See the Guide to Explore Archives and Manuscripts for more details.

New features

The new version of the catalogue makes it easier to find what you need:

  • no tabs; this means the records are easier to read
  • details are now displayed in the full record
  • available online content is more obvious
  • links to requesting items are more visible
  • My Favourites replaces My Workspace
  • Resource Recommender links to related content
  • improved creation date filter
  • Improved accessibility.

Future developments

We will continue to add catalogue information from our other online and print archive and manuscript catalogues. In the meantime you should consult our other archives and manuscripts catalogues and our archives and manuscripts digital collections alongside Explore Archives and Manuscripts.