By Simon Baker

The Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) is a record of nearly 620,000 books, articles and essays relating to the British and Irish past, worldwide. The Bibliography is updated three times each year with curated records of the recent publications. The June 2020 update is now out, adding 4288 new titles, the great majority of which are for works published in 2019-20.

Here BBIH editor, Simon Baker, introduces the June 2020 update and its content, with a special focus on new publications in the fields of British imperial, Commonwealth and European history.

Results screen for the June 2020 update of BBIH, showing the first of the 4288 new records added this month

The latest update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History adds records of 4288 new publications. The new content includes books, articles, book chapters and edited collections covering all walks of British and Irish history, and the British world, from the 1st to the 21st century.

Of the new update, 2393 records cover titles published in 2019 and 2020.

The June update brings the total number of BBIH records to 618,536. Of these 516 records provide detailed information and links to titles published in 2020.

A full listing of the June 2020 update is available here: NB you’ll need to be logged in to your institution’s BBIH subscription account for this link to work. Alternatively, if you’re already logged in to BBIH you can find the June 2020 update by pressing return in any search box and then checking the ‘Only new hits’ box.

From the update: 544 new records relate to recent publications in Irish history, while 192 deal with the history of London, 400 with the history of Scotland and 139 recent histories of Wales. There are 590 new records for ‘Imperial and Commonwealth’, of which 151 records refer to histories of the American colonies. 

Results screen for June 2020 update showing new publications in the history of London

Individual records in the new update allow you to export content to create your own bibliography, cite the work in your own writing, link to open texts when available, or find a publication in your library


In previous update blogs, we’ve typically focused on new records as they relate to each of the British nations and Ireland. However, this time I’m going to focus on BBIH’s global coverage, and to look at new records charting the history of the British and Irish worlds.

Naturally Commonwealth countries feature prominently in the June 2020 update: Australia (with 138 new records), Canada (47) and New Zealand (33) appear in the top ranks, as does the Indian subcontinent (94).

There’s, as ever, much material on the Dominion’s engagement in World Wars I and II; but the June 2020 update also sees cultural historical approaches such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon at the Antipodes : Cosmopolitan cultural transfers and the restructuring of the nineteenth-century book industry and Britain in the Melbourne Punch.

Other references cover Migrant medical women: a case study of British medical graduates in twentieth-century Australia and Commonwealth relations, as in ‘Australia in this matter is under some scrutiny’: Early Australian initiatives to the Rhodesian problem, 1961–64.

New books now recorded in BBIH include Insanity and immigration control in New Zealand and Australia, 1860-1930 and Indigenous peoples and the Second World War : the politics, experiences and legacies of war in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The military contribution of other former British colonies is represented in two articles on Nigerian history, Amputated men, colonial bureaucracy, and masculinity in post-World War I colonial Nigeria and Victims of empire: WWI ex-servicemen and the colonial economy of wartime sacrifices in postwar British Nigeria. Two further records list books on the Indian contribution: Indian Army and the First World War, 1914-18 and The Indian Army in World War I, 1914-1918 which also includes a chapter on the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918.

Away from the empire and Commonwealth, the June update is rich in new titles covering British and Britons’ engagement with continental Europe. Ninety-one records chart new histories of France, ranging from lace- making in Women and Children in the Machine-Made Lace Industry in Britain and France (1810–60) to cultural relations in “The neglected, the unutterable Verlaine”: Arthur Symons, the Saturday Review, and French Literature in the 1890s. Beyond France, the new update adds a further 280 records relating to Britons’ involvement in wider histories of Europe.

Finally, a search for histories of the Ottoman Empire identifies 10 new records: these include recent publications on diplomatic relations from the Renaissance to the First World War, the influence of Middle Eastern cooking, and the depiction of the ‘Turk’ on the early modern stage.

About the Bibliography of British and Irish History

The Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) is the largest and most comprehensive guide available to what’s been written about British and Irish history, from the early 1900s to 2020.

It’s an essential resource for research and teaching, providing up-to-date information (and links) on nearly 620,000 History books, articles, chapters, edited collections and theses.

New records are added in three annual updates. These records are searchable by a wide range of facets including: title, author, chronology, date and form of publication, historical topic and geographical region.

The Bibliography is a research project of the UK’s Institute of Historical Research and the Royal Historical Society, and is published by Brepols. BBIH is a subscription service and is available remotely via university and research libraries worldwide.