Student Research Rooms in HCA

Today’s blog post is a guest post from Clare Wilson, SRR Co-ordinator, about the superb book collections available to staff and students from HCA in the Student Research Rooms.

Here at Edinburgh University in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA), we are fortunate to have the Student Research Rooms (SRR). This is a busy study space that is home to ten book collections. These collections have been bequeathed by important figures in HCA’s history and are continuing to grow.

Three photographs showing the interior of the Student Research Rooms in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

Among the individuals who have made valuable donations is Jim McMillan, a previous Head of School. As a European historian and researcher of modern French history, he was a pioneer in women’s and gender history. The SRR is also home to the Sellar and Goodhart collection, named after two of Edinburgh’s most influential Classics professors. The Jim Compton collection is an American History compendium of some 2,000 books and boasts some of the only known copies of publications of its kind in Scotland.

These collections are unique; they are looked after and made available to borrow by twenty of our student volunteers. The volunteers are on hand to help with enquiries from 10am-6pm, Monday-Friday. They are identifiable by their badges and are usually to be found at the volunteer desk on level 2M.

To find out more about the HCA collections visit the Student Research Rooms website.

Using and promoting the collections

As the Student Research Rooms Co-ordinator, I have the pleasure of helping to look after the SRR and the ten impressive book collections it houses. The books are made available to all HCA staff and students to borrow. Each collection comprises titles and articles that once inspired great academics. We certainly hope they will continue to inspire us as students and staff for generations to come.

My priority as the SRR Co-ordinator, is to look at ways of promoting the collections, as well as making them more accessible. I plan to do this by taking on board some of the student feedback we received from a recent survey, as well as by collaborating with the SRR volunteers and academic staff to find more ways of bringing attention to these fine collections. For example, we will use our newly acquired noticeboards to highlight a ‘Book of the Month’ as well as recommended reads for each of the collections. Some of the volunteers are also planning eye catching book displays. Additionally, I will be meeting with our Estates Team to figure out a way of making the books more accessible by making better use of the space.

Suggestions and feedback

We hope to see more students making use of the collections as the year progresses. We remain open to receiving feedback regarding what students and staff would like to see in this study space. If you have any suggestions, feedback or enquiries about the Student Research Rooms, please do not hesitate to email me at

Clare Wilson – SRR Co-ordinator