Research tools

We have online resources that you can access with a National Library of Scotland (NLS) login. If your main address is in Scotland you can use many of these from any computer.

To register for access, go to licensed digital collections.

There are also a number of resources there that you can use without having to register.

 We recommend the following resources for:

  • Teachers researching a topic
  • Higher / Advanced Higher pupils carrying out independent research.

British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries
A full-text digital archive containing the personal writings of women from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales spanning the last 400 years.

British Literary Manuscripts Online circa 1660-1900
A full-text digital archive containing over 600,000 pages of author manuscripts including poems, plays, novels, private correspondence, and diaries, providing an intimate look into the lives and works of Britain's major writers across 200 years.

Credo Reference
An online reference tool with trusted content sourced from academic publishers including full-text entries from:

  • Encyclopaedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Reference works and more

Contains image databases and topic pages giving overviews of hundreds of subject areas.

Search for items from:

  • Museums, including the Rijksmuseum and Louvre
  • Galleries
  • Archives
  • Library collections including the British Library
  • Site includes images, film, audio and text. Captions are often in the language of origin.

Oxford Music Online
Resource enabling users to search multiple music reference publications in one place. Includes:

  • Articles
  • Playlist
  • Find playlists for graded music exams
  • Biographies: a small number of timelines on composers, musical styles, music notation and more.

Naxos Music Library
Large online classical music library, where you can:

  • Listen to cds of classical, jazz and world music
  • Search by genre, work or composer and find background information
  • Create your own music.

Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers, 1500-1700
A full-text digital archive containing manuscripts from early modern women authors from Britain, 'lost' in time since the 16th and 17th centuries.

Scottish Women Poets of the Romantic Period
A full-text digital archive of over 60 volumes of lyric poetry by 51 Scottish women poets, written between 1789 and 1832.

A digital library of over 360,000 images, movies and sounds from museums, galleries, archives and the media relevant to or about Scotland and beyond.

University of St Andrews Photographic Database
A digital archive of the photographic collection of St Andrews University, including examples of early photography.


Creativity main page

Library video guides

Man using laptop seated at table

Watch our video guides to find out how to access National Library of Scotland resources from home, school or in person.

The ideas factory

Ideas Factory graphic

Plan the story you want to tell before you start writing it. Go to 'The ideas factory'

Themes in focus

Drawing of Alasdair Gray

Learn about the creative processes used by Scottish writer and artist Alasdair Gray.

Library favourites

Sally Harrower

An introduction to the 7:84 Scotland Company theatre archive. Watch video

Library learning for you

If there's a topic you'd like more information about, or if you have any suggestions for learning, email us.

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