Using the BL #1
Starting work on your thesis?
The time comes when a historian will simply have to make a trip to the British Library. This may be because you need to consult a book which nobody else in the UK has or because you want to make use of their extensive archival collections, which span all periods and formats (manuscripts, rare books, philatelic collections, maps, sound). Whatever your reason, it’s a fabulous experience in an amazing building with exquisite collections – so this blog is to encourage you to make the next step.
You may be daunted by the thought of using the British Library. In the beginning, true, you will have go through the trouble of registering. You will need proof of id and address, proof of your status at Oxford University, have a list of the books or archives you want to consult and finally a supporting statement from your supervisor. My advice is to get that precious letter from your supervisor before he/she runs off to exotic but sadly internet-free places!
Easy introduction to using the BL
Check out this lovely British Library video series to learn about how to register and how to use the library. I hope you are re-assured that it is worth the effort:
- Finding the BL (map)
- Plan your visit
- Expert support and training in the British Library (Using the BL #2)
- Finding books: search their catalogue Explore the BL (which looks a bit like SOLO!) before you even go there.
- Finding newspapers: limit your search in Explore the BL to Newspaper Library. You can also search by locations (e.g. city or country) to find newspapers associated with it.
- Finding archives: Use their special archives catalogue
- Finding eResources: the BL has extensive eresources collections, many of which are not held in Oxford. The forthcoming blog post “Using the BL #3” will list those of particular use to historians.