These subject guides will help you to research selected subjects. They do not cover every subject, or everything the British Library has.

To find material relevant to your research, please search our main catalogue Explore the British Library or our specialist catalogues.

Detail of African appliquéd textile


Historical and contemporary material for the study of Africa



Extensive collections from the Americas and Oceania


Arts and humanities

Collections for the study of history, culture and society

Detail of colourful textile patchwork

Black Britain and Asian Britain

Historical and contemporary resources on the experience of people of African, Asian and Caribbean heritage in Britain

Light bulb

Business and patents

Extensive collections on business, management, patents and trade marks

Illustrated map of central Asia

Central Asia

Our resources on Central Asia

Sophocles, Ichneutae, fragments


Graeco-Roman antiquity, from the middle of the 2nd millennium BC to the end of the 6th century AD.

Natasha Davis Show: Internal Terrains, Chelsea Theatre, London 2013 (C1214/143)

Contemporary Britain

Collections reflecting contemporary British society and culture

Colourful streaks making a circle

Digital scholarship

Undertake innovative research with our digital collections and data

Two figures playing the flute from a coloured Japanese manuscript

East Asia

Resources for the study of East Asian languages and cultures

Old family photographs

Family history

Primary sources and reference material for family history and genealogy research

Oostershuis Antwerp

Germanic studies

Resources for the study of Germanic countries, past and present

Scales of justice

Law and legal studies

Historical and current resources for the study of law, legislation and society


Literature and drama

Collections relating to English literature and British theatre

a wildman seizing a lady out collecting flowers

Manuscripts and archives

Unique sources for the ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods