Library mission and activities

The library houses about 150,000 works concerning the history of science. The antique book collection, consisting of nearly 5,000 works, is supplemented by several 19th-20th century collections as well as a contemporary collection which has an annual growth of hundreds of new acquisitions. The library is also home to several 18th to 20th century archival collections, a set of prints and drawings, an interesting historical photo archive and a notable collection of modern photographs.

All of the library's material can be searched on the on-line catalogue. In the case of some miscellaneous volumes and journals, the single articles and essays have been individually catalogued. The arrangement and description of the archival material and the photographic collection are still in progress. More than 47,000 documents are available in digital format: the most of them are freely accessible in internet, some others have internal access only.

Among the highlighted activities of the library are the compiling of bibliographies and the cataloguing of documents related to the history of science, even those not part of the library's collection. In order to allow the integrated consultation of all the Institute collections, the collective database of the library also hosts the catalogue of the Museum's scientific instruments, the medal catalogue and the current digital photo archive which is still being uploaded.

The library partecipates in networks and inter-library projects. All data are available in WorldCat. 15th- and 16th-century books are also searchable in the Catalogue of ancient books (SBN-Tuscany). Moreoever the data have been published as Linked Open Data in Dathub (Open Knowledge Foundation) and in OpenData (Regione Toscana).