The University of Toulouse was founded in 1229 and is one of France’s oldest universities. Throughout its history, it has amassed printed and manuscript documents in the form of collections and libraries to accompany its operation.
The Toulouse and Midi-Pyrénées university network currently brings together some fifty libraries around a shared online catalogue entitled Archipel. 2.5 million documents are available, covering all disciplines taught at Toulouse University institutions: Arts, Literature and Languages, Law, Economics, Management, Human and Social Sciences, Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Technologies and Healthcare.
There are major patrimonial collections predating 1815, mostly conserved in the Toulouse 1 Capitole, Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès and Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier Universities’ libraries:
- 40,000 volumes (law, religion, history and literature) at the Arsenal University Library
- 6,200 volumes (sciences, medicine and pharmacy) at the Allées Jules-Guesde Faculty of Medicine University Library
- 2,500 volumes (literature, history and the arts) at Le Mirail Central University Library
They include some 2000 printed documents from the 16th century and around 1000 manuscripts. A number of collections stand out in particular, due to their local interest or rarity, such as Montauban’s former Faculty of Protestant Theology’s collection, the Fernand Pifteau collection on the history of Toulouse, the Toulouse Natural History Society’s collection and the former Capuchin Convent of Toulouse’s Spanish religious collection. Other 19th-century and early 20th-century documents complement such heritage collections owing to their rarity or value.
By delegation of libraries owning collections, the Service Interétablissements de Coopération Documentaire (SICD – Inter-institutional Documentary Cooperation Service) provides for management of collections predating 1815. In 2003, the SICD inaugurated a programme for digitising this heritage in order to add to the content of a virtual library, Tolosana, organised around corpuses. At 1 June 2016, Tolosana had 13 corpuses, 9,324 volumes and 676,245 pages available online.
The EOD (EBooks-On-Demand) service enables the SICD to complement its digitisation programme and so make the utmost of Toulouse’s university libraries: in 2017, documents published before 1904 are eligible for the digitisation-on-demand service. In following years, documents will become eligible by progressively adding one year to that date.