Royal Society of Edinburgh Periodicals Collection

'Comptes Rendue' titles from the RSE collection

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) was founded in 1783. Over two centuries its Library acquired a large collection of periodicals, many of which were received by means of exchange of the society's publications with those of learned institutions all over the world.

Over 5,000 titles

In 1981 the RSE transferred its foreign periodicals to the National Library of Scotland.

Since then the collection, now of over 5,000 different titles, has been maintained by the Library. The exchange policy of the RSE is still active and the collection is growing constantly, with well over 600 periodical titles currently received.

Not held elsewhere

The scope of the collection is very wide, covering all aspects of pure science. Although many titles are published in foreign languages, the majority are now in English, or at the very least have English abstracts.

Many of the titles are not held anywhere else in Scotland.

Some books and non-scientific titles are also received and these are incorporated into general Library stock. Any items received from a foreign government body are recorded and retained by the Official Publications Unit within the Library.


The collection arrived with an incomplete card catalogue which has now been incorporated into the Library's main catalogue.

To find older material, it will sometimes be necessary to consult us to arrange for us to search other sources for you.

Further enquiries about the collection and its access are welcome: please email


Collections of scientific publications


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