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University of Groningen Library
University of Groningen Library Collections Special Collections Collections


The book collection of the University Library (UB) comprises over 3 million volumes. This huge collection can be divided into many subcollections, the largest ones being those of media types, such as books, manuscripts, papyri, maps, e-books and journals.

The specialness of Special Collections lies in their having a remarkable feature, such as their rarity, value, or great age. There are also numerous subject collections, such as books on mathematics, colonial history, Italian novels, magic and alchemy, and individual authors and artists, to name only a few examples. Still other collections are based not on the content of the items but on external characteristics, such as typography, book covers, illustrated works and annotated works, or on their origin and provenance.

Special collections are sometimes purchased but more often acquired as gifts or bequests. Some collections continue to be expanded, others are closed. Collections may also spontaneously emerge from within the overall library collection, when a group of books with a common feature is discovered to have been formed. These unintentional collections can then be further developed.

All such collections are indispensable to a research library such as the University Library, as they constitute an important supplement to the regular collection in that they fill gaps caused by a lack of financial or other resources.

Last modified:09 February 2024 2.58 p.m.
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