Founded by the National Geographic Society in 1888, the National Geographic magazine has provided readers from all over the world with beautiful photography and insightful articles on a variety of topics such as history, biology, geography and more. While many of us have seen or read the iconic magazine, did you know you can also browse every issue through the digital resource, National Geographic Virtual Library? Offered through the Library’s website, the resource houses the digital archives of past magazine issues dating all the way back to 1888!

Follow these simple steps to get started:

  1. Go to and click on the Research tab.
  2. Next, click the Education and Lifelong Learning section.
  3. In the drop-down menu, click the National Geographic Virtual Library link.
  4. Once on the National Geographic Virtual Library page, you can browse the latest issues or use the search bar to hunt for specific topics.
  5. Once you find an issue you would like to read, simply click on the cover and begin browsing.

When looking through a digitized issue, you can view and click through the table of contents or go through page by page. If needed, you can also jump to specific page numbers and search for keywords. Each issue is offered in full-screen to make digital viewing easy and even lets you adjust the contrast and brightness of the issue to your preference.

In addition to browsing the decades-worth of magazines, you can also search the massive archive using keywords if you’re looking for a particular topic. Results can conveniently be refined by choosing content types (feature articles, brief articles, magazine covers, etc.), subjects and publication year. The resource also provides helpful tools such as the Image Search to delve into their stunning photographs and the Term Frequency Search which graphs a term’s popularity and usage frequency throughout the years. There’s so much to see in the world and exploring it has never been easier than with the National Geographic Virtual Library!

Written by Emily Sexton
Public Relations Specialist