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Research Skills Guides: Researching Beyond Senate House Library


This guide provides information on locating and accessing material which is not held at Senate House Library

Suggest A Book for Senate House Library's Collections

Before you search elsewhere, you can suggest books for addition to Senate House Library's collections by completing this online form. Your suggestions will be considered by the relevant subject specialist academic librarian. Please note, however, that we cannot guarantee to purchase the books you suggest


The remainder of this guide provides details of resources to help you locate and access material beyond Senate House Library

Inter-Library Loans

Many books, journals, and articles are available via inter-library loan: items can be sent from the British Library and other holding libraries for you to read at your home institution library. 

Inter-library loan requests should be made at your home institution library. Information about Senate House Library's inter-library loans service can be read at this following link


Searching Collective Catalogues

There are a number of online collective catalogues which allow you to search across a large number of library and archive collections to determine where books, journals, and other material is held.

Library Hub allows you to search the merged catalogues of the major UK and Irish national, university, and specialist libraries. You can search specific information (such as title or author) or by keywords

WorldCat allows you to search library catalogues based locally and from around the world

Archives Hub allows you to search across descriptions of archives held at over 350 UK institutions 

Access to other Libraries and Archives

If the material you need is held at a university library within the UK and Ireland, you can often use the SCONUL Access scheme to gain admission to the relevant library. The SCONUL Access website provides full details of the scheme and how to use it, and which institutions are included. 

The British Library is the national library for the United Kingdom. If you are aged 18 or over you can apply to join the British Library, and use their extensive reference collections. The British Library website contains full details on how to apply.

There are a large number of specialist libraries and archives in London, many of them free to join or visit (although you may need to join in advance and/or book appointments). These include:

Special Collections and Archives

This section contains more detailed information on locating special collections and archival material beyond Senate House Library


Many libraries will have collections which are not fully catalogued, or collections whose catalogues are not on Library Hub or Worldcat. You can find brief comprehensive descriptions of such collections of printed books across Britain in: Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, 3rd end, ed. by Karen Attar (London: Facet, 2016; updated 2020).

Less comprehensive overviews are available electronically for the Greater London Area via MASC25 and for Northern Ireland via RASCAL

None of these overviews is entirely up to date

For archives, note the various gateways on our archives hub especially the Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters


Should you need to find books overseas, other countries have their own equivalents of Library Hub, such as Catalogue collectif de France and for all Germany, Switzerland and Austria (despite the deceptively local name) the Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog Germany, Switzerland and Austria, despite the deceptively local name, the Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog, which has an English interface


To find out what has been microfilmed or digitised, see EROMM, European Register of Microform and Digital Masters


British doctoral dissertations are available via EThOS at the British LIbrary and for foreign dissertations, the University of Sussex has a nice list