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.

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Historical and contemporary material for the study of Africa



Extensive collections from the Americas and Australasia

business words written on white-board

Business and patents

Extensive collections on business, management, patents and trade marks

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

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Digital scholarship

Undertake innovative research with our digital collections and data

East Asia

East Asia

Resources for the study of East Asian languages and cultures

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

Understanding Alice

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

Detail of OSD 267(pt.2). Ordnance Surveyors’ Drawings. Boyce, draughtsman. 1814


The British Library collection of maps, plans and views is one of the largest in the world, numbering some 4.5 million

Map of Britain by Matthew Paris.

Medieval and early modern Britain

British historical and literary manuscripts, 600–1600