Digital access

We make our collections accessible online in lots of ways. This guide explains how.

Information about what we hold

You can browse and search information about most of our collections via our website A-Z lists, online exhibitions or by searching our collections.

Not all our catalogues and finding aids are online. If you can’t find what you are looking for please contact us. We are working to upload details of our Art Collections onto our catalogue. Currently the best way to search the collections is by visiting ArtUK.

We also send details of our collections to several general and specialist databases: these allow you to search across lots of different museums, libraries and archives see our digital access FAQs.

Digital content – available online

Only a small proportion of what we hold has been digitised but this still means that tens of thousands of items can be viewed online.

Low-resolution images of many of our objects, archives and artworks may be viewed on our catalogue and our Virtual Reading Room.

This content, plus many additional items, is also viewable at high-resolution by registered users via the Virtual Reading Room.

Some content is available in our online exhibitions and virtual visits, or via the following online portals:
ArtUK (selected items from Art Collections and The MERL)
Google Arts and Culture (selected items from Special Collections)
Visual Arts Data Service (Victorian music sheet covers from Special Collections)
Modernist Archives Publishing Project (selected items from Special Collections)
Staging Beckett (selected items from Special Collections)
Beckett Digital Manuscript Project (subscription)

We continue to operate copying services so if you cannot visit us we can of supply copies. Please note that many of our holdings remain in copyright and can only be accessed on-site or for very specific purposes.

Digital content – available onsite

From 2021 a wide range of content will be available on dedicated digital terminals in the archive and library reading room. This will include access to “born-digital” archives.

Digital teaching with collections

For a range of options for University teaching using collections, both online and on-site, please see our guide.