Special Collections

Special Collections Intro

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Imagine our internationally renowned Special Collections being poised to...

Acquire rare works that become available once a century, as we did recently with the 1623 Orazio Grassi De Sphaera manuscript.

Acquire contemporary rare materials, such as the personal papers of Wilma Mankiller, the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Attract to campus the very scholars whose books line our shelves to interact with students and faculty. Imagine a student being able to discuss Civil War history with the individual whose book they have studied in class.

Build tools and resources that increase access to our collection in order to provide students the opportunity to grapple with the original records of human culture.

It is from the intersection of our rich primrary resources about the human experience that our researchers and students create new knowledge.

Special Collections Intitatives

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Building on excellence in our special collections begins by:

Enhancing Access

Our digitization laboratory increases access to OU's resources while also increasing our international visibility via the Internet. We seek to take the extraordinary treasures housed here, and multiply their impact on imaginations worldwide by making them accessible to the world.

Increasing Awareness

By partnering with other top-tier institutions such as Oxford University, the Marine Biological Laboratory and the Max Plank Society, we can extend our reach of access to OU resources while increasing the visibility of the university.


Building a Living Library

By stimulating dynamic, cross-disciplinary conversations around significant aquisitions through exhibits, public lectures and programs that illuminate and contextualize these rare materials, we are creating a living library.

These conversations will cultivate public engagement with students, the public and scholars from around the world.


Integrating Primary Source Materials

As classes at OU increasingly incorporate research methods into the curriculum, we will provide access to primary materials from our collections to more than 1,000 first-year students.

Providing these primary resources allows students to learn for themselves what it was like to live during that period of history.

Special Collections Examples IBooks

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Learn more about the iBook Virtual exhibits being produced by our special collections.

A Living Library

This iBook is a guide to the physical exhibit, "A Living Library," housed in the History of Science Collections of the University of Oklahoma Libraries. With this guide, you can read a brief description of each item on display and swipe through a gallery of images showing additional pages in any book that catches your eye.

View on iTunes

*You must have iBooks downloaded to view this exhibit.


1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition

This virtual exhibit highlights the primary source materials of the 1904 Lousiania Purchase Exposition held within the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma Libraries.

View on iTunes

*You must have iBooks downloaded to view this exhibit.

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