The British Library is the national library of the UK and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. We make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment.
This vision is central to Living Knowledge, the Library’s strategy for growth, innovation and development. It is underpinned by six purposes defining what we do as the UK national library: research, custodianship, culture, learning, business and international engagement.
A core purpose is to support and stimulate research of all kinds. This reflects our role as an indispensable resource for researchers, as well as our role as an Independent Research Organisation, leading and collaborating to create new knowledge in all fields of human enquiry.
Our collections and resources encompass all disciplines in hundreds of languages, covering 3500 years from some of the earliest written records to the digital collections of the present day. This includes books, manuscripts, datasets, maps, newspapers, zines, personal archives, sound recordings, film, photographs, sheet music, paintings, prints and drawings, and the entire UK web domain. Our staff expertise spans research and scholarship in all its forms.
Jointly, these intellectual assets represent a vast, rich and diverse resource to support research into, and cultural engagement with, the human experience.
Our goal is to support the active creation of new knowledge in any field of human enquiry. We conduct, influence and lead research that extends across the arts and humanities, sciences and social sciences, as well as cross-disciplinary research that transcends traditional boundaries.
Our research collaborations and partnerships generate new knowledge and enhance the quality of the UK’s research information and infrastructure. Applied research about user needs, digital technologies and infrastructure underpins the development of our own services and collections. It helps us to better understand how different audiences could use our content now and in the future, both onsite and online.
Research also plays a key role in informing our cultural offerings, exhibitions and learning programme. We work in partnership with many world-leaders in research, cultural engagement and information delivery.