Our collections are housed in environmentally controlled stores and will be fetched for consultation in the Wolfson Reading Room upon request.

Browsable Reading Room material:

  • catalogues and finding aids for both our printed and archive collections
  • reference materials
  • Local Collection; material relating to the local, North East, area, including University history
  • S Collection; bibliographic materials, manuscript and book production, publishing and print history
  • journals and serial publications, including historical society publications listed here are all on open access shelves in the Reading Room

Requesting archive, manuscript and printed materials from closed collections
All archive, manuscript and most special printed collections (listed here), are closed access and so should be requested in advance.

Please search the catalogues here to identify the material(s) you would like to consult, then fill in a request card in person in the Reading Room, or email speclib@abdn.ac.uk to request the item(s).

Information required:
To help us retrieve the correct item(s) for you, please supply the archive or manuscript reference, and/or shelfmark details, along with title, author and the publication or creation date (if archives).

Access times:
For same day consultation please place your request  (in person, or by email to speclib@abdn.ac.uk) by 11.00am - materials will be available from midday onwards.  For next day consultation, please place your request by 4.00pm the previous evening - materials will be available from 10.00am.   

Please feel free to contact us further in advance, especially if you are requesting multiple items and/or are travelling from further afield.

Please note that due to condition, age or format, some categories of materials require a longer minimum request time. These include;

  • Older materials in Estate and Family Papers
    These collections often include older documents, such as medieval charters and fragile papers, which may require conservation assessment, and in some instances, stabilisation treatment, before they can be safely consulted. Maps and plans also often require assessment, due to their size and condition.
  • Medieval manuscripts, papyri and ostraca
    Condition assessments may be necessary. Additional permissions may also be required.
  • Photographic collections
    Photographic materials, including prints and lantern slides, which are stored in special environmental conditions, require a minimum acclimitisation time before being available for consultation in the Reading Room.
  • Lives in the Oil Industry oral history collection
    Where possible 24 hours notice is requested to establish the access status of individual interviews before making them available.
  • Archive collections containing materials of recent or sensitive nature
    Some records contain personal information and may be closed for 75 (for adults) and 100 (for children 16 and under) years under the Data Protection Act (1998).

If you wish to access materials which may fall into any of the categories above, please contact us to seek further advice and assistance.

Research trips and visiting from out with Aberdeen
To help us to have materials ready for you, so that you may make the most of your research time, please do get in touch with us in advance of your visit, especially if you are travelling from outside Aberdeen and/or are planning a more extended research trip. Guest internet access can also be arranged, please do let us know if you will require this before, or when, you arrive.

NHS Grampian Archives
For information on accessing NHS Grampian Archives or if you have an enquiry, please see here for further information.