You may wonder what - if anything - is the difference between a library and an archive.
Libraries are generally considered to be collections of books and/or journals that are either available in hard copy, or in electronic form as facilitated by that library.
Archives are different for a number of reasons. Archives can hold unpublished as well as published materials, and are not necessarily restricted to books or journals. Material held in archives is often rare and unique: it might well be the case that an item in an archive is the only version available in the entire world. Is is often the case that archived are accessed by special arrangement.
Finding information in an archive can be hugely gratifying, and can make for some excellent outcomes for your research.
Located close to Euston Station in London, the British Library is of international as well as national importance. Adding approximately 3 million items to their collections annually, the British Library received a copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland. Containing around 150 million items, the British Library includes historically significant items, such as the earliest dated printed book and the Magna Carta. The British Library is open to the public, but accessing material requires prior arrangement.
Visit the British Library here:
JISC-based service Archives Hub defines an archive in the context of research as the following:
Archival research is unique. You might find yourself having to visit a variety of locations, and to consult some material you may need to use special equipment such as book stands or cotton gloves.
Here are some top tips for successful archival research:
Special collections are similar to archives in that they may hold rare and/or unique items, but are often housed apart from the main collection.
The University of Bolton has one special collection which is located near to door to the stairs to T2. This is a collection of books donated by the Quilters' Guild, and may be borrowed.