Unique and Distinct Collections

What We Do

Support the strategic objectives of CONUL by providing expert input on all aspects of UDCs in CONUL Libraries

Focus on the promotion and visibility of UDCs including Archive Collections, for research and public engagement

To communicate best practice for storage, management and preservation of UDCs

Foster new partnerships with national and international bodies with common interests

Explore and identify other special collections, archives, and resources in Ireland of value to CONUL.

Our Activities

We review results of the ongoing longitudinal surveys of UDCs for promotional activities and planning of collaborative projects.

We advocate for approaches to digitisation which open up Unique & Distinct Collections for wider international scholarship.

We identify individual institutional collection strengths in UDCs, to seek collection development approaches to reduce inflation in the marketplace and allow a comprehensive development programme for the future of the national collective collection.

We share best practice information on teaching with special collections (including new approaches like using digital assets and online exhibitions for pedagogical purposes), recording and monitoring growth in this area across the CONUL institutions.

We regularly review institutional policy documents around security, emergency planning and conservation strategies to ensure the preservation and responsible use of the collections.

We publicly endorse international standards for the care of UDCs and seek to implement these within our institutions where resources allow.

Who We Are

Chair: Hugh Murphy (MU)

Deputy Chair: Ciara Kerrigan (NLI)

Secretary/Communications Officer: Catherine Cooke (TU Dublin)


David Meehan (DCU), Louise Costello (QUB), Susan Leyden (RCSI), Kirsten Mulrennan (UL), Evelyn Flanagan (UCD), Janice McQuilkin (UU), Marie Boran (UG), Emma Horgan (UCC), Susan Leyden (RCSI)

Member Spotlight

Royal Irish Academy Library

The Royal Irish Academy Library is one of Ireland’s premier research libraries. The Library manages major manuscript, book, pamphlet and drawings collections.

We offer comprehensive access and outreach programmes, facilitate master classes and visits, hold exhibitions and lecture series and publish on the collections.

The Academy Library is an important research centre for the study of Irish history, language, archaeology and the history of Irish science.