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How to order library and archive materials

Our opening times and access arrangements have changed due to Covid. Please refer to our webpages first for important information about these changes before ordering any materials.

Please follow the guidance below when requesting Library or Archives materials to consult in London.

  • Deliveries between the National Collections Centre and the Dana Research Centre and Library in London and vice-versa take place every four weeks and you will be informed when your items have arrived. Staff will contact you to confirm your request and again when the items are available.
  • Requested materials will remain available for consultation for up to one month after a request has been processed, and there are limitations on the number of items that may be ordered.
  • On rare occasions we may not be able to satisfy your request—for example, if the items are in poor condition, or are very large. In these circumstances we may be able to provide a copy instead.

How to order from the Library

  1. Ensure you are registered for the Library and staff have issued you with a library card and a username and password.
  2. Log into the library catalogue using your username and password.
  3. Search the catalogue to find the books you need, clicking 'Add to cart' for each title. Click on the 'Cart' option at the top left of the screen and you will be taken to 'Your cart', where you can tick each book you need.
  4. If books are available for loan and you have borrowing rights you can place a hold for them. The screen will change to list all the items you have on hold. You have the option to suspend holds, so they are dealt with at a later time, or cancel any if you change your mind. Holds can also be created for individual items without creating a list.

For all other material and for reference only readers you cannot place a hold on these items. Instead, you should use the option to 'Send the list', so click on each title you want to see and click on 'Send' and a pop-up form will appear:

  • Add the following email address:
  • Add a message, e.g.:
    —I need to see these books in London, preferably on [date(s)]. Please keep me informed of progress
    —I need to see Volume X-Y (date) of this journal in London, preferably on [date(s)]. Please keep me informed of progress
    —I wish to see these items at the National Collections Centre (or) London
  • Click on 'Send'.

How to order from the Archive

Please note that only archive materials held by the Science Museum may be requested for consultation.

  • Archive collections are stored at the National Collections Centre and may be consulted there or in London. You must specify the material you wish to consult in advance of your visit to allow staff to provide guidance and prepare materials as appropriate. For some archives preparation time will be longer than others but staff will advise you where this is necessary.
  • You must visit the National Collections Centre if you wish to consult large quantities of archives, or large format material such as engineering drawings or ships’ plans. You need to make your order at least a few days in advance and possibly longer depending on the amount of the material you have requested.

You may consult smaller quantities of material at the Dana Research Centre and Library in London. The preparation time will take about three weeks or longer depending on the amount of material requested.

Archives collections for the Science Museum Group are documented in the archives catalogue. Please use the form below to place your order.

Archives order form

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