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Gerstein Science Information Centre, University of Toronto

Sigmund Samuel Library Building University of Toronto 9 King's College Circle Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A5
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A5
Sandra Langlands, Director, Gerstein Science Information Centre & Director (acting), Science Libraries
1 416-978-2280
Fax: 416-971-2848

The Gerstein Science Information Centre is the largest science and health sciences academic library in Canada. It has a print collection of 1,036,694 volumes of journals and books. The library also provides access to over 100,000 online journals and books. We provide circulation, reference, inter-library loan, document delivery and information literacy instruction to University of Toronto affiliated individuals. The building facilities are open to visiting scholars. Use of the library's resources by the wider community is facilitated by open access, inter-library lending, and user-pay services.

The library has a complete set of Index Medicus (in its various title changes) and many major reference titles such as the Catalogue of the Royal Society of London. We have a copy of A.C.P. Calllisen’s Medicinisches Scriftsteller-Lexikon (in a 1964 reprint) which is not widely held. The library currently maintains subscriptions to the databases Science in the 19th century periodicals and to History of Science, Technology and Medicine and to Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We also house some notable medical historical microform sets (such as the American Medical Periodicals 1797-1900; Canadian Medical Journals 1826-1900; and the Landmarks of Science) which are held in the affiliated Robarts Library Building where all microform is located.


The Gerstein Science Information Centre has a print collection of 1,036,694 volumes consisting of 505,815 monographs and 530,879 serial volumes in paper. The library also provides access to over 100,000 online journals and books.

Our holdings include an extensive collection of materials donated to this library through an international campaign in the years immediately after a fire in 1890 destroyed the entire collection which had been built up in the previous 50-70 years. Many rare items from our collection have been moved to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library; however much material remains here. We still have a substantial collection of monographs in our unique ‘old class’ scheme which is based on the classification scheme used at one time at the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris; the ‘old class’ scheme was abandoned in 1950 but much material was not reclassified and remains in the old class. We also have an extensive collection of “pamphlets” which do not have subject analysis of any kind but only keyword access for title or author or sometimes imprint in our catalogue; there is no subject analysis for these pamphlets but they are organized in broad categories such as pathology or surgery; the pamphlets range from dissertations to full monographs to 10 page pamphlets; we have about 85 standard library pamphlet boxes of these. Our serials are generally complete from the first volume; we have some serial titles going back to the 18th century. The materials relating to the history of medicine are not separately housed but are integrated in our main collection. Some materials must be requested from our offsite storage facility; this status is indicated in the catalogue by the location “Downsview” and retrieval from there takes approximately 2-3 days. We do not have a dedicated history of medicine librarian.

Subject Strengths:
History of Anatomy; History of Botany; History of Cookery and Nutrition; History of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases; History of Genetics; History of Gynecology and Obstetrics; History of Hospitals; History of Medical Education; History of Medical Ethics; History of Medicine; History of Military/Naval Medicine; History of Nursing; History of Pathology; History of Pharmacology and Pharmacy; History of Psychiatry; History of Psychology; History of Public Health; History of Surgery; Materia Medica
Last Updated:
10 Aug 2012