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Planning Library Research


Academic libraries

Academic libraries will probably hold resources relevant to your research. You may find it a useful starting point to find out which institutions (other than your own) are conducting research in your subject area. A number of national and regional schemes have been established to help you gain access to other academic libraries. [Information on using academic libraries]

National libraries

National libraries usually stock a copy of most items published in the country, and their holdings represent a wealth of both printed and non print material. National libraries are not the same as public libraries, access to The British Library for example, is not automatic. [Information on using national libraries]

Museums and art galleries

Many major museums and art galleries have significant libraries that, depending on your subject, may hold relevant resources. [Information on using libraries in museums and art galleries]

Government libraries

There are numerous government department libraries that may hold relevant resources. Their collections include their own publications and their own unpublished materials which may not be easily available elsewhere. However they are not always open to the public. [Information on using government libraries]

Special libraries

There are numerous important libraries in the UK which may hold relevant resources and are not part of the academic, public or government sectors. These include the libraries of professional societies, charities and other bodies. [Information on using special libraries]

Archives and Records Offices

You may need to visit an archive or records office to consult historical records such as correspondance, minute books, directories, genealogical information, maps and plans. It is often necessary to contact the institution in advance and provide details of the materials you wish to consult. [Information on using archives and records offices]

Special Collections in libraries

Many libraries hold unique collections of rare books and other material that because of their rarity, value or fragile condition are treated in a similar manner to archives and termed 'special collections'. These may represent the collections of individuals as well as institutions. [Information on using special collections in libraries]

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