Special Collections are unique and rare resources held by Newcastle University's Robinson's Library. We hold both archives and rare books.
Due to their rarity and their sometimes fragile condition, these items are not on the normal library shelves, but they are available to everyone in the Special Collections reading room.
This guide will point you in the direction of some collections which are particularly relevant to your subject area.
For a wider look at more of our collections, and to see tips on ordering and using archives and rare books, there is also a Special Collections LibGuide ...
Not all of our rare books are in 'collections' with particular relevance to your subject area, we also have hundreds of rare and unique books which were acquired by the library individually, across a range of subjects, which might also be valuable to your research.
Just a few to get you started ...
We have plenty more ...
All of our rare books are on the library catalogue, so start your search by entering your topic area, author, or title into library search in the normal way.
To view items within the Special Collections department, you can then refine your search by clicking on the Special Collections Location.
The Library is building a collection of historic computing books, under the guidance of Professors Brian Randell, Cliff Jones and John Lloyd. The main collection is housed at the Team Valley Research Reserve. Individual items are indexed in LibrarySearch. To browse the whole collection follow this link.
Find out more about the history of Computer Science:
BBC film on UK's "oldest computer"
Alan Turing Centenary Library Guide
Tommy Flowers designed the Colossus, which was crucial to WW2. You can read an article about Flowers, commissioned for the Royal Mail Yearbook 2015 and written by Professor Brian Randell on the Computing Science website
Image c. M.Keppel
The Merz Collection is the mathematical library of John Theodore Merz (1840-1922), an electrical engineer. Merz also had an interest in philosophy, and the collection also includes books amassed by him during the writing of his work The History of European Thought in the Nineteenth Century. These 4000 volumes are strongest in Mathematics and the History of European Thought, but also include notable works on science, European history and German Literature.
Type of Material: Rare Books
Subject Areas: International History Mathematics Philosophy Engineering
Brian Randell was born in Cardiff (16 April 1936) and educated at Imperial College London. From 1957 until 1964 he was employed in the Atomic Power Division of the English Electric Company Ltd, Whetstone Leicester, including working on compilers for the ALGOL 60 language. From 1964 to 1969 he worked for IBM at the T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, and later in California, specialising in computer architectures, operating systems and system design methodology. In 1969 he was appointed Professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University, becoming Emeritus Professor following his retirement.
The archive relates to Professor Randell's professional and academic associations throughout his career.
Type of Material: Archives
Subject Areas: Computer Science Business Management
Contains material published by Newcastle University and its predecessors, including Annual Reports, Senate and Council minutes and departmental publications.
Type of Material: Archives
Subject Areas: General