Geography and exploration

Graphics illustrating travel and geography

From the largest map collection in Scotland to the archive of explorer David Livingstone, discover National Library of Scotland resources on geography and the world around us.

Find out how explorers in the past developed our understanding of the world and learn about the people, places and environments of the world today.

Learning resources
Specially designed to support classroom teaching using the Library's collections.

Ernest Shackleton

Shackleton and Wordie pages look at items relating to Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 and the expedition's Scottish geologist, James Wordie.


Scott's last expedition looks at items in the Library's polar collections relating to the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913, and includes discussion points.


The David Livingstone 'Themes in focus' pages introduce the life and travels of 19th-century Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone through items in Library collections.


Salen Hotel painting

The 'Great escapes' resource provides an insight into tourism in Scotland in the mid-19th century. Includes a guide for teachers on running a cross-curricular local studies project.

See more learning resources

Research tools
Access to an extensive range of research tools when you register.


What's in the collections
Information on what the National Library holds and is recommended for learning audiences.


Learning Zone 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.

Mapping History

Mapping History: A guide to using historical maps

Learn more about reading and using historical maps in this online guide.

Library favourites

Paula Williams

Paula Williams introduces items from Captain Scott's last expedition collection. Watch video

NLS 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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