digital resources for research

Library images

RHS Images includes a selection of the library’s image collections. More of the Library image collections can be seen on-screen at our London, Wisley or Harlow Carr libraries. Please ask library staff for access.

Library digital collections

You can access a growing selection of material from our collections online.


Useful web resources

See below our selection of authoritative sites from around the world, which link to specific areas of historical botanical and horticultural interest via online catalogues and databases. Most of the resources are free, but others are subscription only. Many of the foreign language web pages can be translated by right-clicking on the screen and choosing ‘translate to English’.

Biodiversity Heritage Library
A consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” Search the contents, of more than 150,000 volumes among 43 collections, by author, title or date of publication.

Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum
Provides a list of recommended sites concerning historic botanical literature with links to sites and on-line catalogues.

The New York Botanical Garden’s Mertz Library
A compilation of north American and international resources including: botanical libraries, online catalogues, botanical resources, information about plants, and pictures of plants.

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden
A guide to plant species descriptions published in seed lists from Botanic Gardens between 1800-1900. Aims to make the original descriptions available in a database, with the title page of the seed list and its date of publication. Search by plant name, place or year.

Library of the German Horticultural Association
Provides links to free digital collections of historic garden literature available on the internet and in various languages. Categorised by monographs, plant catalogues, and periodicals (including Proceedings of the Royal Horticultural Society)

How do I find out which other libraries hold the material I need?

Brings the separate online catalogues of 90 different UK and Irish academic, national, and specialist libraries together as a one stop shop for tracking down which libraries hold the books or journals you need. By searching COPAC you can learn where particular copies of books are held, find details on how to visit the libraries to view the material, or how to request an interlibrary loan.

The National Archives Discovery
A union catalogue that holds descriptions of on-line archival records from across the UK, and provides contact and access details for the 2,500 participating archives and institutions.

Archives Hub
Use the Archives Hub to find unique sources for your research. The Archives Hub enables you to search across archives held at more than 250 institutions across the UK.

Local authority libraries
Many public libraries have their catalogues available online and participate in an inter-library loan scheme, where titles not in their collections can be borrowed from another library. Find out which is your local library.

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