British Museum Magazine, Digital Archive | Reference eReviews

The British Museum has partnered with digital content vendor Exact Editions to create an accessible digital archive of the British Museum Magazine from the first issue published in 1990 to Winter 2021. Within this excellent resource containing over 100 issues, users will find full-text with ads, announcements, pictures, and complete articles covering archaeology, anthropology, art, culture, and history.

British Museum Magazine, Digital Archive Exact Editions


Founded in 1753, the British Museum is the oldest publicly funded museum in the world, with artifacts and treasures dating back millions of years. The museum has partnered with digital content vendor Exact Editions to create a digital archive of the British Museum Magazine from the first issue published in 1990 to the current Winter 2021 edition. Published three times a year, the magazine features research articles, news about gifts and acquisitions, editorial comment, reports, visuals, book reviews, and exhibit information. All issues in the archive are full text with ads, announcements, pictures, and complete articles. In total, there are 101 issues currently in the archive. New issues will be added as they are published.


The homepage has an uncluttered, bare-bones look with a simple search box, a link to set up account preferences, and a “help” tag. There are no advanced search options, although Boolean terms can be used in the search box. Images of magazines take up most of the space on the homepage with pictures of the three 2021 issues individually displayed, 2020 issues grouped together under one icon, and individual icons for the other three decades represented in the collection: the 2010s, the 2000s, and the 1990s. Discoverability and searching are effortless and simple. Users can either use the basic search box or select a magazine title icon for individual issues. If a decade icon is selected, publications by year for that decade will display. If a year within a decade is selected, all three publications for the year will display. Accessing content in the magazines is just as uncomplicated. Response time is immediate. There are several toobar buttons for navigating within an issue, including options for viewing pages and toggling back to a previous page. The thumbnail view brings up all pages of an entire issue, which is especially helpful when seeking specific images and designs. Pages can be enlarged with options for viewing either single or double pages. A small button shaped like a house in the left corner on each screen lets users return to the landing page. Text and captions are easy to read. Visuals are amazingly clear, colorful, and detailed. Pages can be copied, pasted, printed, downloaded, and sent to social media sites. They can be accessed as PDFs or as a plain-text version. The archive is accessible through all browsers and across IOS and Android devices.


The pricing for an annual subscription falls between $315 and $945 depending on the size/FTE of the institution.


The archive is an excellent resource for those interested in archaeology, anthropology, art, culture, and history. It’s fun to browse, with lots of interesting articles, chronicles of museum activities, and stunning photographs for both specialists and general readers. Although the database doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, it more than makes up for their absence with the quality and volume of its content, its no-nonsense design, and its efficient navigational tools.

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