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Disability and inclusion: Special collections and other sources

Library resources for researching disability and inclusion related topics

Special Collections of archives, rare books and more...

Two students looking at a rare bookThe University’s Special Collections are available to all students in the University. The collections include rare books, manuscripts, records, letters, photographs, maps and drawings. Use the search box below to find specific items on the Enterprise catalogue.


The Special Collections Service is based on the London Road campus, in the same building as the Museum of English Rural Life. Items from the Special Collections cannot be borrowed, but they can be consulted in the reading room. You’re advised to plan ahead and contact Special Collections prior to your visit, so that we can have the material ready for you for when you arrive.

Disability specific items in our collections and archives

There are a few items within the archive and rare book collections that relate to the subject of disability, such as correspondence and certificates relating to the employment of agricultural workers, photographs of disabled people and projects for disabled people in The MERL Archive, and correspondence about publications regarding disability in the Archive for British Printing and Publishing. Some examples are:

  • Correspondence file relating to Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for the Disabled dated 1961-1970 in the National Union of Agricultural Workers Archive (SR 2NUAW B/XVI/76)
  • Certificate for the National Scheme for the Employment of Disabled Men [World War II] dated 1941 in the Milk Marketing Board Archive (SR MMB SP5/2)
  • File of photographic prints of blind and disabled people in the Farmers’ Weekly Photographic Collection dated 1960-1988 (P 3FW PH2/2193)
  • Photographs, negatives and slides relating to Work projects for disabled people dated 1980s-1990s in the Countryside Agency Archive (SR 2RDC PHA/19)
  • Colour slides of Wisley, garden for the disabled, in the Clifford Tandy Photographic Collection (P TAN PH5/7.2/14+15)
  • Correspondence and reader’s report regarding the publication of “Disabled citizens” by Joan Simeon Clarke by Allen & Unwin in 1951 (AUC 495/5, AURR 18/3/25)

If you would like to make use of the University's Special Collections for your dissertation research, a good place to start would be the Subject Explorer guides. This guide has been created to help you make use of the University of Reading Special Collections in your dissertation.

Conference papers

Conference papers are published in a variety of ways - they may be published as a book, or as a special issue or supplement to a journal. Some may not be published at all!

If published promptly they can you give you the latest information on research in your field.

See our guide to finding conference papers for details of specialist sources for finding this type of information.

Inter-library loans

The ILL service can obtain a wide range of academic books, journals, and conference proceedings. Because of the costs involved it is meant only for material which is essential to your studies or research.

For more information see our Inter-Library Loans webpages:

Visiting other libraries

As a member of the University of Reading you can usually use other academic libraries. However, if you want to consult another Library's collections please contact the Library concerned before making a special journey.

You can identify some UK research and University libraries by looking at the list of libraries contributing to the Library Hub Discover service:

We are members of two SCONUL schemes which enable you to access many other UK HE libraries. In some cases you may be able to borrow.

For more information see our guide to using other libraries:


Reading University theses and dissertations

The Library receives a copy of all theses accepted for the degrees of PhD and MPhil by the University. All theses held by the Library can be found on the Enterprise catalogue. Recently submitted theses might also be available to download from the University's Institutional Repository, CentAUR.

Masters theses can usually be consulted in the relevant school or department.

Finding theses from other institutions

There are a number of specialist sources for finding theses produced at other institutions around the world. Many more are becoming available online making it much easier to get the full-text. For more information see our guide to finding theses.

See our guide to finding theses for more information: