Library Services


Research and teaching

UCL Special Collections supports academic teaching and research in a wide range of subject areas.

Student examining a rare book from UCL Special Collections

Whether you are studying, teaching or researching, our collections can be used as evidence to enrich student essays, as inspiration for developing research projects, or as a rich source for ground-breaking publications and new ideas.

If you are new to using rare books, archives and records for university learning and research, we can help - just get in touch to find out how.


We work with researchers from UCL and beyond to support research projects based on our collections.

Page from a copy of Euclid's Elements being tested with Optical Coherence Tomography
Projects we have been involved in range from the ESRC-funded ‘Discourses of Voluntary Action at two 'Transformational Moments' of the Welfare State, the 1940s and 2010s’  to digital imaging projects in collaboration with the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and the UCL Leverhulme-funded project ‘Bloomsbury and Reform in the Nineteenth Century’.

We also run an annual Visiting Research Fellowship scheme.

To discuss potential research projects using our collections, including support for funding bids and grant applications, please email UCL Special Collections.


Our programme of support for academic teaching is based at UCL and across the curriculum, reaching over 1,000 university students in over 50 classes each academic year. We offer teaching and support for students (primarily at UCL) of taught courses, research students and teaching staff.

We offer:

  • Single classes within a taught module.
  • Whole taught modules when sufficient resources are available.
  • Selection of suitable items.
  • Development of new modules that use our collections.

Teaching and preparation for classes can be done by academic tutors or by our staff, or by both in collaboration. A member of our staff will always need to be present to supervise our material.

To speak to someone about developing a new session, please contact the Academic Support Team.

Student Projects and Connected Curriculum

Special Collections actively supports research-based learning for students on taught courses at UCL, following UCL’s innovative Connected Curriculum. Examples of this work include:

  • Planning online exhibitions (Arts and Sciences BASc degree)
  • Transcribing manuscripts (Palaeography MA)
  • Translating archive documents (Languages BA)
  • Preparing modern editions (Publishing MA)
  • Presenting at public events (Fine Art BA)

We can work with module leaders to help identify suitable material, develop project ideas, provide training in using the collections, and timetable staff availability.

Our Rare-Books Librarian; Academic Support And Events has experience as a Connected Curriculum Fellow: get in touch to discuss student projects.

Let us know if you would like to discuss using UCL Special Collections for your dissertation.

Academic and Public Events

We support and run a busy programme of academic and public events, both face-to-face and online. Our visualisers enable us to show collection items live online: see our YouTube channel for examples. To discuss how we can support your conference or event, or discuss presenting at our events, please contact Tabitha Tuckett.

Learn more about UCL Special Collections' programme of events and exhibitions.

Book Special Collections Support at an Event