Here we tell you about the ways you can navigate through the National Library of Scotland site. We explain what sort of information you'll find when you click on the headings in the top navigation bar. We also point out some features you might find generally useful.
A brief history of the National Library of Scotland is available if you want to know a little about our background.
There are several ways to navigate through the site.
- From the top
The row of links at the top of the page gives you direct routes to key sections on our site. Overview pages indicate what is in that section.
- Subject index
If you are interested in a particular subject, you can check the browse by subject list or try our site search to find out what information we have on our web pages
- Site map
Another starting point is, of course, the site map, which will give you a list of the main subjects within each section
- Footer links
We've grouped together at the foot of the page some useful links to get you to particular areas of the site quickly
We provide two search options on this website:
- To search the web pages, along with the maps website and the Moving Image Archive catalogue, use the 'search our websites' option on the search dropdown menu at the top of the page. This is available via the magnifying glass icon.
- To search Library catalogues, databases and digital collections, you can use the search box on the home page and the Collections overview page. This is our Library Search service. it is also available via the magnifying glass icon.
You can search other online catalogues and databases separately.
See items digitised from our collections
See items digitised from our collections
You can access online books, manuscripts, photographs and posters from our collections, along with web features on a range of subjects.
- Visit the Digital gallery
Read online journals and reference books
- Hundreds of full-text reference works
- Thousands of full-text newspapers, journals and reports
- Hundreds of thousands of digitised books, periodicals and manuscripts spanning over five centuries
- Millions of records and abstracts via online services and databases.
You have to have a valid library card to use the Edinburgh reading rooms, but it is not needed at Kelvin Hall.
Learn about the collections
Library collections are maintained and developed by divisions of specialist staff. Most of the divisions have a section on our site where they provide information about their collections and services.
- What is a manuscript?
Sometimes what people might think of as a book is in fact a 'manuscript'. It may be handwritten, for example. These items are part of our archives and manuscripts collections.
Using the Library
To use our George IV Bridge Building reading rooms, you need to get a library card from Reader's Registration when you first visit. You can register online to start the registration process and complete it when you arrive. There is guidance in the Using the library section on the kinds of card we issue and the proof of identity you need to bring with you to get one.
You'll also find details of opening hours, what facilities we have available and the different collections you can consult in our various reading rooms.
The About us section is where we post our policy documents and publications such as 'Discover' magazine and our Annual Review. We also have general information about the Library, including the Board of the National Library, and about specific areas of our work, such as legal deposit and preservation.
Online enquiry service
The National Library is part of a global network set up to answer general reference enquiries online. So if you have a burning question and don't know where to start to find the answer, why not Ask a Librarian?
We send out news monthly about future Library events and new developments in the Library or on our website. If you would like to receive our free email newsletter, we'll be happy to add you to the subscription list.
We regularly update our pages on Facebook and Twitter and the Library blog. See the social networking page to find out more.