The staff of the Department of Prints and Drawings conduct extensive research as part of their work in cataloguing, preparing exhibitions and making new acquisitions.
The department also provides access for members of the public to carry out their own research in its study rooms, which are open to all. Visitors may ask to see any of the 50,000 drawings or 2,000,000 prints in the collection - apart from a fragile sketchbook by Jacopo Bellini which can only be seen by special request.
The library of about 50,000 books and periodicals on Western prints and drawings is available in the Study Room to be read alongside the original works of art. See The Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: User's Guide by Antony Griffiths and Reginald Williams (1987).
As well as records in the Collection database online, full printed catalogues exist for certain important parts of the collection and recent exhibition publications provide much additional information. Microfilms of certain areas on the collection are available from Mindata.
Curators and staff in the department are involved in a wide range of research projects.
There is an ongoing programme of publication in the department, including catalogues.
In line with research across the British Museum the Department of Prints and Drawings has been conducting a check of its collections to establish whether any material acquired since 1933 was stolen or forcibly acquired by the Nazis.