How to request items not in the catalogue

A finger pointing to content on an iPad

Our online catalogues do not contain records for all the items we hold; but you can use these catalogues to order items only found in card catalogues.

How you request items, which are not recorded in our online catalogue, differs according to the item's Collection Area:

Document Supply

To request an item:

  • Complete the mandatory Shelfmark field
  • Enter Author and/or Title and /or Year information, if you wish (these are not mandatory fields)
  • Click Add to basket.

Humanities and Social Sciences Collection

To request an item:

  • Complete the mandatory Shelfmark field
  • Enter Author and/or Title and /or Year information, if you wish (these are not mandatory fields)
  • Click Add to basket.

Maps Collection

To request an item:

  • Complete the mandatory Shelfmark field
  • Enter Author and/or Title and /or More information, if you wish (these are not mandatory fields)
  • Click Add to basket.

Maps (OS large scale pre-1950)

To request an item, complete the mandatory fields:

  • Select the appropriate Country button
  • Enter the County Name
  • Select the appropriate Scale
  • Enter a Sheet No. or Parish; if you wish you can also specify a Subsheet but this field is not mandatory
  • Select an Edition
  • Click Add to basket.

Maps (OS large scale post 1950)

To request an item:

  • Select the appropriate Scale button
  • Enter the National Grid letters
  • Enter the National Grid Numbers
  • Select the Quadrant
  • Enter Notes, if you wish (this field is not mandatory)
  • Click Add to basket.

Music Collection

To request an item:

  • Enter the mandatory Shelfmark of the item you require 
  • Enter a Name and/or Title and /or Year, if you wish (these are not mandatory fields)
  • Click Add to basket.

Add to basket

Once you click Add to basket, for all items, except for journals or books-in-series, a message confirms that the item has been added to your basket. If the item is a journal, or book-in-series, a pop-up displays and you should:

  • Enter a Year or Volume
  • Enter a note if this helps identify the item
  • Click Confirm; a message confirms that the item has been added to your basket.

You can add more items to your basket or, to Request item(s) in your Basket, click the Basket link in the top right of the screen (next to the Logout button).

Items not requested will remain in your basket for up to 90 days but they are still available for other people to request.

Electoral Registers

The Electoral Registers form that you use to request registers is found in Explore the British Library under 'Request Other Items'. You will be prompted to login before you can view the form and request the items.

To use the form to request Electoral registers you will need to know:

  • Whether the register pre-dates 1999 or post-dates 2000.
  • The shelfmark of the register.
  • The constituency.

To help you identify these details our website has information on:

For further information, or help with ordering, please consult with staff at the Reference Enquiries Desk in the Social Sciences Reading Room, or contact:

Social Sciences Reference Service
Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7894
Reference Enquiry Team

To request an Electoral Register, other than a microfilm item:

  • Select Electoral Registers
  • Check the 'Up to 1999' or 'From 2000' radio button.
  • Enter the Shelfmark (this field is mandatory).
  • Enter the Constituency.
  • Click Add to basket.

To request a microfilm Electoral Register (shelfmarks beginning with SPR.Mic.P):

  • Select Humanities and Social Sciences Collection.
  • Enter the Shelfmark (this field is mandatory).
  • Enter the Constituency in the title field.
  • Click Add to basket.

Add to basket

Once you click Add to basket a pop-up displays and you should:

  • Input a Year (this field is mandatory).
  • NB: Only one year can be requested at a time; you cannot order consecutive years for electoral registers.
  • Input a note if this helps identify the item.
  • Click Confirm; and you will be advised that the item has been added to your basket.

You can add more items to your basket or, to Request item(s) in your Basket, click the Basket link in the top right of the screen (next to the Logout button).

Items not requested will remain in your basket for up to 90 days but they are still available for other people to request.