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 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

Middle East subjects banner

Middle East

Manuscripts, printed books, newspapers and journals from the Middle East, Iran and Central Asia

View of the Medway and Chatham, Kings MS 43

Modern British history

British history from 1600 to the present

Afton Water part 04


The British Library has a world-famous collection of music

Big Ben

National and international government publications

Print and online documentation from governments worldwide


News media

You’ll find British and overseas newspapers dating back to the 1600s and we have growing collections of radio, television and web news

Kiev political debate

Oral history

Interviews on a wide range of subjects relating to British life and experience

Solomon Islands 5 shillings George VI stamp


Stamps and postal history items from around the world

Printed books small

Printed books

Printed material in a range of formats for current researchers and future generations

Romance and Modern Greek subject


Our collections in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Modern Greek cover a broad range of subjects



Our resources support the needs of specialists working in academia and business, and can support multidisciplinary research interests.

Illustration of Russian peasant girls sitting on a fence.

Slavonic studies

Resources for the study of Slavonic countries past and present

Crowd from behind.

Social sciences

Research resources on politics, economics, law, sociology and other subjects.

Studio mixing desk controls


Sound and video recordings from all over the world