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RMIT University Library Special Collection

Find information on how to use the Library's Special Collection. Explore the diverse content within the collection

Searching for items in the RMIT University Library Special Collection

To confirm that the library holds specific items in the Library's Special Collection, please enter the Title and/or Author details into the LibrarySearch box below.

Tips for searching:

If once you have conducted your search, you are unable to find a record of the item you are after, please contact the Library in one of the following ways:

  • Telephone 9925 2020
  • Ask the Library Service (New window)
  • Approach the Library staff at the service points (on level 5 or 6 of building 10) in the Swanston Library


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RMIT University Library Special Collection procedures

Access to the Library's Special Collection is by appointment only. 

  • To request an appointment to view an item within the Special Collection, please complete the Special Collection appointment form (The collection is currently not accessible as of 17 March 2020)
    • Please note appointments to the Special Collection are generally scheduled for one hour and in most cases, 24 hours notice is required.
    • Appointments are not available on a weekend, after 5:00 pm on a weekday or on a public or University holiday. 
    • The Library will attempt to accommodate all appointment requests but some dates and times may need to be negotiated.

  • Items within the Special Collection are not for loan and can only be viewed the Special Collection room.

  • Generally, browsing of the collection is not permitted. However, if necessary this can be arranged through Will James (

  • Belongings, such as jackets and bags can be taken into the Special Collection room and stored under the table.
  • Please note: Only laptops, notebooks, pencils, smartphones and tablets are permitted for use in the Library's Special Collection room. Patrons are able to use the pencils and paper provided, however no pens are allowed to be used in the Special Collection room.

  • Before viewing a thesis, read and acknowledge the "Use of Thesis" conditions:
    • This item is the property of RMIT University but the rights of the author must be respected. If any passage is quoted or closely paraphrased in a paper or written work prepared by the user, the source of the passage must be acknowledged in the work. If the user desires to publish a paper or written work containing passages copied or closely paraphrased from the thesis, which passages would in total constitute an infringing copy for the purpose of the Copyright Act, the user must obtain the written permission of the author to do so. 

​Photocopying and photography:

  • Photocopying: Library patrons (who are RMIT students or staff) may only photocopy theses
    • Theses are the only items that can be used outside the Special Collection room.
    • Please present your RMIT student or staff card to the Library staff member within the Special Collection room before undertaking your copying. The Library staff member may require photo identification to be left with them while the copying is being undertaken.  
  • Photography: Library patrons may photograph items within the Special Collection but must refer to the Copyright guide to Fair Dealing (displayed in the Special Collection room)

Please note - photocopying or photographing from the Artists' books in the Special Collection is not permitted

Item handling and care:

  • Gloves are not necessary, but they have been provided to protect hands from dust & dirt. Please never handle items with the spine at the top;  the pages will become separated from the book - it is best to lay books on the spine or flat if they are too large
  • Note for Library staff: If the item requested requires the use of the DVD or video player, please plug in and switch on the unit and the television. Please then switch off and unplug the unit and television once the patron has finished viewing the item.   

Reshelving items (Library staff only):

  • Only Library staff can re-shelve items within the Special Collection
  • Tips for reshelving:
    • All items (other than the theses) in the Special Collection have call number slips placed in them
    • Use the slips for finding and reshelving items rather than the spine label
      • Note: items with a SPE FOL or SPEC FOL prefix are shelved in the SPE prefix section of the collection  
    • To locate and reshelf theses, use the call number on the spine label
    • If items are too large or difficult to shelve, please contact Angus or another colleague for assistance
      • Items which are too large to fit in the cabinets are shelved on/in the island unit in the middle of the room.  The shelves in the island unit have been numbered. The call number, title and island unit location of an oversized item are listed in LibrarySearch.  
    • Handle items with care and please try not to squeeze items into the shelves too tightly
    • If there are no items to shelve please look to keep the collection neat and tidy - for example straighten books to protect them