About Us

What is The European Library?

The European Library is an online portal that offers easy access to the collections of Europe's national libraries and an expanding range of research libraries. It aims to meet the needs of researchers worldwide by providing the ability to:

  • Search over 200 million records
  • Access over 24 million pages of full-text content and more than 7 million digital objects
  • Find a wide range of material, including rare books, manuscripts, images and video
  • Export records to reference management services such as Mendeley and Zotero
  • Download metadata free of charge for data mining and exploitation

What is the relationship between The European Library and Europeana?

The European Library is the aggregator of digital content from national libraries for Europeana. We deliver digital content from our member libraries on a monthly basis to Europeana. Some human and technical resources are also shared between the two organisations.

Accessing Content

What kind of material can I find?

You can access bibliographic records, digital and multimedia content. These items are sometimes hosted directly on The European Library website. In other cases, there is an "access online" link that will take you to the object on the website of the contributing institution. In addition to individual records, we highlight content that is grouped around various themes and subject headings. This can be in the form of an online exhibition, such as Reading Europe, or as a special collection.

Does the full-text search allow me to search the entire text of books?

Our full-text search allows you to find documents, books and other material for which the complete text is available online. In some cases, the full text of these objects can be searched via The European Library website. In other cases, the full text of an object that appears in the search results may only be available on the provider's website. 

Is there a cost to access items?

The majority of items are free to access.

Do you hold physical copies of books?

The European Library is a virtual library. We give access to metadata and content from libraries across Europe via our search box but we do not hold physical material. All original objects are held by our contributing partners.

Downloading & Reusing Content

How can I download objects?

The European Library is a portal that locates material held by Europe's national, university and research libraries. When material is available to download, this is best done via the website of the providing library. Clicking the "available at" or "access online" links on the individual record pages will take you to the library's website.

How can I download metadata?

Downloadable metadata is available to all registered users. Once you have registered, you will see a "metadata" tab on each record. Clicking on this tab will give you access to that record's metadata. Registered users will also receive an API key that allows you to download metadata for data mining purposes.

What copyright is associated with objects?

Many items are in the public domain but where copyright exists, it is held by the contributing national and research libraries. Copyright questions about individual objects should be directed towards the library that holds the original object.


How can I contribute content to The European Library?

We accept content from university and research libraries located in the Council of Europe. To learn more about joining our service, please contact us: info@theeuropeanlibrary.org

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