Welcome to the Biomedicine and Health Libraries at UCL
UCL biomedical and health libraries jointly support UCL’s research, teaching and learning activities as well as the clinical practice in UCL’s associated NHS Trusts. The biomedical and health libraries collections comprise over 90,000 books and monographs and they subscribe to at least 4,000 medical and health-care related journals and texts electronically as well as holding over 2,000 journal subscriptions in print. The libraries provide study space and a full range of enquiry, training and document delivery services as well as access to online resources 24 hours a day.
There are substantial teaching hospital libraries at the Royal Free, UCLH and Whittington campuses of the UCL Medical School as well as specialist libraries covering child health, dentistry, laryngology, neurology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and pharmacy. These eleven libraries and the Medical Sciences materials in the UCL Science Library collectively form a major resource in current biomedicine and health. There are additional and significant historical medical materials held by these libraries and by Library Services' Special Collections.
UCL Library Services also has close links with other library services for the NHS including libraries at UCL’s associated District General Hospitals, to facilitate continuous access to resources for undergraduate medical students on placement. Information resources for the public include the Action for Hearing Loss library and web-based guides in specific clinical areas including paediatric and neurological disorders.
For support with your particular subject area please refer to the biomedical library site which best meets your needs (see the right hand column).
You may also find one of these more specialist subject guides of use:
If you are a Medical Student or member of NHS Staff then please see the following webpages for specific information about the services available to you:
Historical Collections at UCL Biomedical Libraries
The biomedical collections at UCL Library Services include a wealth of fascinating historical material. Numbering around 10,000 volumes, and ranging in time from the sixteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, the collection includes volumes by some of the key authors in medical history. This befits the role of the biomedical collections of supporting biomedical research at UCL, an institution which has seen the first operation in Europe performed under anaesthetic in 1846 and the taking of the first clinical x-ray in 1896. The collections are either located at the site libraries, or held by Special Collections, and as such access arrangements to different parts of the collections may vary. For more detailed information please contact the relevant site.
Of particular interest are the collections of a number of specialist postgraduate medical institutes within UCL. These collections allow the history of clinical medical specialities including Dentistry, Paediatrics, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics and Otorhinolaryngology to be traced in detail using the libraries instituted to support the development of teaching and research in these now well-established clinical disciplines. Each of the Institute collections contains seminal texts by authors such as Sir Morell MacKenzie on laryngology, Sir Robert Hutchison on paediatrics, and Sir Stewart Duke Elder on ophthalmology, as well as other personal papers, photographs and ephemera.
In addition UCL Library Services also has special collections in related subject areas such as human communication sciences, life sciences and history of science, and the RNID Library archive for deaf studies available to the researcher. These collections provide a wider scientific context for the development of clinical sciences, as well as providing a significant insight into the development of rehabilitative and therapeutic care for those with communication disorders or hearing impairments.
The UCL Ear Institute Library Historical Collection
The Ear Institute Library (formerly the Institute of Laryngology & Otology) was established at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital in 1946. The collection became part of UCL Library Services when the Institute merged with UCL in 1982, becoming part of the UCL Ear Institute in 2005.
The Library's historical collection contains around 500 volumes dating back to the middle of the seventeeth century. The bulk of the collection was published between 1870 and 1940, as the study of otology, rhinology, and later laryngology developed includes extensive holdings of works by key figures in the history of otorhinolaryngology in the UK and internationally such as Sir Morrell MacKenzie, Adam Politzer and Joseph Toynbee.
The collection also includes a significant number of potrait photographs of key figures in the development of otorhinolaryngologic medicine from the end of the nineteenth century, and the middle of the twentieth century, as well as selected personal papers of Sir Morrel MacKenzie. Also available is the RNID Library historical archive for deaf studies, which contains many key historical works on the development of audiology and hearing science.
The collection is shelved at the Ear Institute Library, and following conservation work on the collection in 2003, following a grant from the Research Resources in Medical History project from the British Library, the entire collection is available for viewing on request. It is advised that you contact the library in advance if you wish to consult the historical collection. A catalogue of the collection is available.
UCL Special Collections
Special Collection holds various handwritten lectures notes by both UCL and non-UCL medical staff and students dating from the 18th century.
- Joseph Black, Edinburgh, 1766-1797
- Frederick James Fitzmaurice Barrington, UCH, 1884-1956
- Sir John Rose Bradford, UCL, 1899-1900
- Sir Victor Horsley, UCH, 1887-1896
- Richard James, UCL 1855-1858
- J.Talfourd Jones, UCL, 1860-1863
- Arthur Ricketts, UCL, 1893-1899
- Nathaniel Rogers, London, 1820s and 1830s
- Charles James Blasius Williams, UCL, 1842-43
Special Collections also has the papers and drawings of former eminent UCL medical professors:
- Sir William Maddock Bayliss, UCL, 1912-1924
- Sir John Scott Burdon-Sanderson, UCL, 1870-74
- Sir Roy Cameron, UCH Medical School, 1937-1964
- Sir Robert Carswell, UCL, 1831- 1840
- William Sharpey, UCL, 1836-1874
- Sir George Dancer Thane, UCL, 1877-1919
- Sir Francis Martin Rouse Walshe, 1913-1973
- David Meredith Seares Watson, UCL, 1921-1951
The UCL Archives also contains archival and printed material relating to the University College Hospital and Medical School:
The Strong Room Collection contains early printed material of medical historical interest:
An Archive of Images is available from the Special Collection Digital Gallery: