Beta services at the British Library


At the British Library we are continually working to innovate with new research services and to improve the ones we have.

From time to time we make a beta version available to you to try out and give us your feedback on new features.  A beta service is not a finished system; development work is ongoing.

Our beta services may be light-touch when it comes to styling or aesthetics, and they will often lack full connectivity with the rest of our research services. They do, however, offer our users new or improved features for testing. We hope you enjoy trying our beta services in that spirit and encourage you to let us know what you think.

The beta services currently available are described here. Please check back regularly to what else we are working on.

Explore Archives and Manuscripts – New look and features

The beta version has the same records as Explore Archives and Manuscripts, but displays the information differently, in a new user interface. Notable new features include:

  • no tabs – this means the records are easier to read
  • details are now displayed in the full record
  • online content is more obvious, when it’s available
  • links to requesting items are more visible
  • recommended resources to link to related content
  • improved creation date filter
  • improved accessibility – better compatibility with screen readers, a clearer layout of results, and better links to online content.

These new features are part of our plans to improve the way you discover and access the Library’s content. Features still being developed include:

  • optimisation for mobile devices
  • inclusion of expanded Library content, such as collection guides.

These features will be improved over the coming weeks.

Tell us what you think

We’re looking for feedback on the display of the records, the features offered, the language we’ve used, and any other improvements you can suggest for making Explore Archives and Manuscripts easier to use.

Use the feedback link on the right of the catalogue screen to send us your comments. Every bit of feedback is useful to us.

We’ll update you regularly on what we do, although we can’t guarantee that we will be able to implement all your suggestions.