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Printed Special Collections, Hartley Library: Home

The collections contain over 50,000 books on a wide range of subjects, with publications dating from the fifteenth century to the present day.

Enquiries

General enquiries about Printed Special Collections contact:

Jenny Ruthven

email: archives@soton.ac.uk

tel. 023 80593335

Search Room Bookings:

email: archives@soton.ac.uk

tel. 023 80592721

Address:

Special Collections, Hartley Library, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ

Special Collections Home Page

Catalogues

WebCat contains records for most Special Collections books and journals, but some of the older material is listed only in the Card Catalogue on level 4.

Check the individual guides for catalogue information for each collection.

DelphiS enables you to search across WebCat and the Library's electronic databases. You will need a University login for access.

Related E-Book Collections

Access to some collections is restricted to members of the University.

Welcome

Welcome to the guide to the Hartley Library's Printed Special Collections which describes the individual collections, their value for teaching, learning and research and how to access the material.

Special Collections is the home of the rare books from the Library's general collections and also the named collections which have been presented to the University over the years. These range in size from a few hundred titles to several thousand volumes and include printed books, pamphlets, journals, maps, prints, photographs and postcards. You can find examples of the oldest printed books and the latest publications in Special Collections and the material is open to all to use.

Images from the Collections

Steep Hill

About the Collections

The University Library's Printed Special Collections contain rare books which are stored in environmentally controlled conditions and read in secure areas and also modern publications which are on open access and available for loan. The latter are found in the named collections, the collections formed by private individuals and organisations, which have been acquired by donation or deposit and which may contain publications of any date. 

At Southampton 'rare books' are defined as those printed before 1851 and those of a later date, which are of significance or value. Consideration is usually given to:

  • age - books printed during the handpress era from the 1450s until the mechanisation of printing in the first half of the 19th century
  • scarcity - books may be scarce because few copies were printed, or few copies survive
  • importance in discipline - first editions of literary works or books containing initial reports of scientific discoveries
  • intrinsic characteristics - examples of fine printing, typography or binding
  • artefactual value - books which have physical characteristics distinguishing them from other copies printed at the same time e.g. marks of ownership (provenance) of a figure or collector of significance, annotations by the author or significant annotations by readers, bindings of note
  • vulnerability - books which contain plates, maps and moving parts or single sheet publications, double folio or miniature books

Using the Collections

The printed collections are open to members of the University and to the wider community.

To explore the resources available and find out if they can be of help in your study, teaching or research, use the tabs above or contact Special Collections.

Opening Hours

Special Collections Open Access Area

Open access material can be used whenever the Hartley Library is open.

Archives Search Room

Monday to Friday

09:30 - 17:00

Location and Access

Books and journals printed from 1850- are usually shelved in the Special Collections Open Access Area on level 4 of the Hartley Library.

Rare Books and Illustrations are fetched for use in the Archives Search Room, also on level 4.

Microform material is housed in the Microform Area on level 1.

Check the individual guides for the location of each collection.

If you do not have a University I.D. Card, you will need to show photographic I.D. on entering the Hartley Library and on entering the Search Room, a form of I.D. which shows your permanent residential address.

Reprographic Services

Open access material can be photocopied. The nearest photocopiers are behind the main staircase on level 4.

If you are not a member of the University, you will need to obtain a Guest Account login from either the Special Collections Enquiry Office or Hartley Library Reception.

Bound volumes in Rare Books cannot be photocopied but you can request photographic or microfilm copies, subject to the age and condition of the item.

See Reprographic Services for a list of the types of copy available and charges.



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