Cambridge University Library

Special Collections

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A Persian translation of the cosmography or 'Wonders of creation' of the 13th-century geographer Zakariya ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (the manuscript was made in 974 of the Hijrah, i.e. AD 1566) (detail). © Cambridge University Library

In the Spotlight

Cambridge University Library's Special Collections include the oldest and most valuable materials in the Library, in manuscript, printed and artefact form, as well as modern maps, music and material in the Asian & Near and Middle Eastern collections. The oldest items in the collection are Chinese oracle bones dating from 1400 to 1200 BC.

The Library is committed to using its Special Collections to support research and teaching, and to developing digital services to make the collections accessible to the widest possible audience in new and innovative ways. At the same time, it recognises the enduring importance of the physical collections, and the need to preserve this unique cultural heritage for future generations.

Items from the Special Collections can be viewed by all as part of the Library's exhibitions programme or online as part of the Cambridge Digital Library and other digital image collections. Talks and visits are frequently arranged by the Friends of Cambridge University Library and the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, and as part of the University's Science Festival and Festival of Ideas.

See our Special Collections blog for the latest news and events.