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 Online Archives
An online gateway to historical full text archives including papers of the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, 1694-1709.

Environment Complete
A database with full-text entries from 1940 onwards, covering many aspects of environmental science, from agriculture and energy to geography, pollution and waste management.

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

  • Encyclopaedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Reference works and more.

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

A full-text journal archive from 1800 onward of over 1,600 leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Sabin Americana
A full-text digital archive containing works about the Americas published throughout the world. It covers the period from 1500 to the early 1900s, and consists of over six million pages from 29,000 works, and based on Joseph Sabin's seminal bibliography 'Bibliotheca Americana: a dictionary of books relating to America from its discovery to the present time'.

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.

India, Raj and Empire
A full-text digital archive taken from the manuscript collections of NLS and covering the history of South Asia between the foundation of the East India Company in 1615 and the granting of independence to India and Pakistan in 1947.

Scots Abroad
The Scots Abroad databases give details of material relating to the lives of Scots and their experiences overseas. Scots went abroad for a variety of reasons: exploration, missionary work, study, travel, emigration, tourism. The National Library of Scotland's collections contain much material relating to the life of Scots both at home and abroad.


Geography and exploration main page

Library video guides

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

David Livingstone

Portrait of David Livingstone

Examine items about David Livingstone's life and work and discuss what meaning they have today.

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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