Digital Special Collections
The special collections can always be accessed by everybody and from any location in the world by using the internet. With Digital Special Collections on http://disc.leidenuniv.nl you are only a mouse click away from medieval manuscripts, rare atlases, unique prints and many other treasures.
Digital Special Collections contains more than 50,000 images and 100,000 descriptions of manuscripts, letters, archives, rare books, prints, drawings, photographs, photographica, maps, atlases and oriental collections.
Digital Special Collections also provides access to all web exhibitions. There are extensive descriptions of over a hundred collections, and some of these even contain a detailed inventory. Special attention has been given to several top items from the Special Collections. It is also possible to access the latest acquisitions via this site.
You can search for specific collections by using key words or browsing through categories. You will find information on size, origin, acquisition, content and compilation details of the collections. Each object is supplied with a fixed link (persistent identifier), which you can use in your own (web)texts as a direct reference.
This short manual (pdf) will help you to find your way in the Digital Special Collections.
Where available you can view images of such objects as prints or transcriptions of letters. These images have several options which can be used to research the material virtually. You can zoom in and out to view details on maps and pages can be placed side by side to compare texts.
Vulnerable objects can now be studied intensively and frequently without a high risk of damage from physical contact. Naturally, it will remain possible to examine the actual objects for teaching and research in the Special Collections reading room in the Leiden University Library.