By Sarah Milligan

British History Online (BHO) has relaunched its website following a complete rebuild and redesign, which started at the beginning of this year.

For more than a decade, BHO has been a reliable and accessible resource for primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland. Over the years, the project has evolved and adapted to changing technologies, new user demands and a variety of content, but as an eleven-year old web project, it was starting to look its age. We faced a problem very similar to the one described by the Internet Archive – our project had evolved far beyond the capabilities of our website and it was time for a comprehensive redesign.

We had to start from scratch and that involved switching to a new content management system. All the content has remained the same, but we have created completely new interfaces through which to access it.

In response to user feedback, the new search interface has been designed so it is now possible to narrow down search results. By applying one or multiple filters, users can control the level of specificity in their searches. The title search queries series and publication titles, can be combined with the keyword search to further refine results. New browse interface allows users to see everything that BHO has at a glance, and they can also browse by source type, place, subject or period.

All the changes made to BHO have been done to increase the usability and searchability of the site as a whole.  We have stripped the site down to its core, and are eager to add new features over the coming year.

We have also introduced new subscription levels. For the first time we have added premium page scans, which will be available to institutional subscribers. With the new subscription levels we are able to make them available to individual subscribers as well.

Finally, we were inspired by the Society of American Archivists’ Spontaneous Scholarships and came up with a way for members of the BHO community to support one another. We are inviting BHO users to contribute to our subscription scholarship fund, which will award free, year-long subscriptions to postgraduate students and early career researchers. Learn about how to contribute.

There have been many changes to BHO and we hope our users will be as excited about them as we are (if that is even possible)! We look forward to hearing what you think!

British History Online is a digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland (1300-1800) run by the Institute of Historical Research. If you have any comments or feedback on the new design please contact the BHO team at