Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities

An interdisciplinary collaboration between the Faculties of Arts and Medicine & Health at the University of Leeds

Library and Museum Research Resources in the Medical Humanities


  • To make these resources more visible to researchers both within the University of Leeds and beyond and engage the public with both collections and their stories
  • To enhance the research value of selected material by a programme of digitization.
  • To preserve extremely fragile material of high research value through both passive conservation and intervention where appropriate.

A key component of the Medical Humanities project at the University of Leeds is the development of History of Medicine and other MH resources across the University’s Libraries and Musuems. Under the leadership of Dr. Stella Butler, the University Librarian and a historian of medicine, the University Library, incorporating, on campus, the Brotherton, the Edward Boyle, and Health Sciences Libraries, together with the Library at St. James’s Hospital, is one of the foremost UK academic research libraries. A prominent member of Research Libraries UK, where Dr. Butler has recently been elected to the Board, five of its premier special research collections were awarded ‘Designated’ status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, in recognition of their outstanding international significance. The library holds nearly 3 million print and 500,000 online volumes and more than 37,000 print and online journals. Each year the library caters for over two million users who borrow approximately three million items. The development of the Library as one of the UK’s primary sites of Medical History and Humanities resources in the UK through a programme of work packages that involve both enhanced resource discovery and digitization is a vital part of this application, and will underpin the research that will take place on the project. It will make the resources more visible to researchers both within the University and beyond, and will engage the public with both the collections and their stories. A related initiative is the development of a new University Museum of History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Under the leadership of Dr. Claire Jones, the Director and a historian of medicine, the HSTM Museum has particularly strong holdings in medical and biomedical collections, and is developing a world-class, multisite, set of exhibitions showcasing, and making newly accessible, the University’s significant material holdings from scientific, technological and medical research and education.

Planned Developments

  1. A web-based resource discovery tool.
    This will provide a gateway to material within Special Collections of relevance and value research in the medical humanities, and will be structured around the central research questions of the project.
  2. Digitized resources
    Material of high research value will be made more accessible through a structured programme of digitization. Material will be selected in consultation with the research resources board and with colleagues engaged in research in medical humanities within the University of Leeds.
  3. A programme of events showcasing and promoting the Library’s resources for medical humanities

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