History Collections
Find out more about history collections and History Day

History Collections

Find out more about history collections and History Day

Resources for history students at the Institute of Historical Research and Senate House Library

An overview of the resources available for history students available at the Institute of Historical Research and Senate House Library.

British History Online

British History Online (BHO), part of the Institute of Historical Research, is a collection of nearly 1300 digitised volumes of primary and secondary material relating to British history.

BHO holds material on Roman and Anglo-Saxon times to the Twentieth century, across the British Isles, including Ireland from the Norman invasion to the creation of the Free State, and includes diplomatic, imperial and colonial state papers.

The digitised books held by BHO have been transcribed by double-rekeying, which means that two typists input text independently, to an accuracy level of greater than 99.995%. For many of these publications, images of the pages are available as well. We also have some born-digital texts, which are documents or datasets that originate in the digital form and have been prepared by a team of scholars.

BHO has:

  • Calendars of Close Rolls, Patent Rolls, State Papers Foreign and domestic, and Treasury Books and Papers,
  • over 170 volumes of the Victoria County Histories,
  • 60 volumes of the Survey of London,
  • 7 volumes of ‘born digital’ English Petitions,
  • 5 historic plans of London and 107 volumes of Ordnance Survey maps.

The full catalogue is available at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue, and the subscription material is listed at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/premium-content.


The majority of the content of British History Online is free to view. A proportion of texts are available only to subscribing universities and libraries, and individual subscribers.

If your institution does not have a subscription, individual subscriptions for personal use are also available, at £35 for standard and £55 for ‘Gold’, giving access to page images as well as the transcribed texts. For more information about subscribing, please see https://www.british-history.ac.uk/subscribe

Social media

British History Online is on Twitter at @bho_history


To contact British History Online, either use the form at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/contact-us or email british-history@sas.ac.uk

The Bibliography of British and Irish History

The Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) is an essential tool for the study, research, and teaching of British and Irish history. It is the largest and most comprehensive guide available to published writing on the history of British and Irish relations with the rest of the world, including the British empire and the Commonwealth, as well as British and Irish domestic history from 55 BCE to the present day. BBIH can also be used to study, teach and research a wide range of interdisciplinary historical fields such as the histories of race and ethnicity, migration, gender, disability, the environment, and emotions.

The Bibliography is the essential resource for historical study, teaching and research and is a research project of the UK’s Institute of Historical Research (IHR) and the Royal Historical Society (RHS), and is published by Brepols. With new records added three times a year, BBIH provides up-to-date information on over 637,000: 

  • History books, articles, chapters, edited collections (published from the early 1900s to present)
  • History theses (submitted late 1990s to 2022).

These records are searchable by a wide range of facets including: title, author, chronology, date and form of publication, historical topic, and geographical region.


BBIH is a subscription service from available Brepols.

Through your institution

BBIH available through many libraries, archives and museums in Britain, Ireland and worldwide.

To access BBIH:

  • Go to your institution’s library catalogue and/or e-resources page(s) to find the Bibliography
  • Use your library login to view BBIH.

Individual subscription

If your institution does not have a subscription, individual subscriptions for personal use are also available. For more information about subscribing, please see here.

To access BBIH:

  • Click here
  • Follow the Enter databases link
  • Use your login provided by Brepols to view BBIH.

Online tutorial videos

BBIH online help pack – here you will find a set of videos that introduce the Bibliography and show how to use it. These video tutorials are for:

  • First and Second-year undergraduates studying History, with a focus on Britain and Ireland, the history of British empire and Commonwealth.
  • Third-year History undergraduates looking to plan, research and write a dissertation on British and Irish history, including the histories of empire, race and migration.
  • MA and PhD researchers for whom an understanding of principal and sub-fields of study is key, for shaping their research plans and creating a literature review.
  • History lecturers and librarians, with a focus on using BBIH for teaching — both to find relevant content and enable students to identify and distinguish between different kinds of history publications.

Online reading lists

The Bibliography’s editors and Brepols have worked together to produce several themed online reading lists of works published between 2010 and 2022:

Social media

IHR @ihr_history – look out for #BBIH and #BibliographyOfBritishAndIrishHistory

RHS @RoyalHistSoc 

Brepols @Brepols 

On history – BBIH publishes regularly in On History, a digital magazine produced by the IHR.

Brepolis blog – BBIH updates, including the online reading lists, can also be found here.



For more information about contacting the Bibliography, including how to suggest additions and/or corrections to BBIH, please see here.

Senate House Library

Senate House Library is the central library for the University of London. Our collections specialise in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. We provide access to collections to support students and staff from the federal colleges of the University, and researchers in the Arts and Humanities more broadly.

Introductory video to Senate House Library’s history collections  

Senate House Library website



Overview of the collections

History collections overview and subject guides

Subject guides for other research areas

Special Collections and Archives

Using the Library guides

Research support resources and sessions

How do I sign up?

All students of the University of London are entitled to become members of the library free of charge. To register, use our online registration service.

For other membership options visit our membership page.

How do I get there?

We are located on the 4th floor of Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, Central London. For more information go to our Visiting the library page.

I have a question. How can I get further help?

Contact the Senate House Library team via e-mail or talk to us on our Library Live Chat service, Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm. If you need help with the history collections or advice on finding resources for your studies and coursework including dissertations, contact the Academic Librarian for History.

Thematic sessions

Learn more about how you can combine all the resources above for your studies and research by viewing the recordings and resources of past live sessions.

Researching British History online

Four specialist editors and history librarians introduce key resources for researching British and Irish History.

View the recording and resource list


Researching North American history

Discover how to research the history of North America with resources from Senate House Library & the Institute of Historical Research with this online training session originally held on Wednesday 10 March.

View the recording

View the resource list

Researching Imperial and Commonwealth History

This online research training session will introduce you to the wealth of resources available to research the history of the British Empire and the Commonwealth at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS), Senate House Library (SHL) & the Institute of Historical Research (IHR).

View the recording and resource list


Researching UK local history

For Local and Community History Month, the IHR ran 3 online research training sessions that introduced you to the wealth of resources available to research UK local history at:

  • Institute of Historical Research (IHR)
  • Senate House Library (SHL)
  • Bishopsgate Institute
  • Linen Hall Library
  • Lancashire Archives
  • British Association for Local History (BALH)

View the recordings and resource list