Information Services

Enquiries and Remote Access

We are happy to help researchers who are not able to visit the CRC in person.

Impact of COVID-19

Please note, our enquiries service may be subject to delays. For staff safety, we have reduced staffing capacity onsite and restricted access to collections. This means it may take us longer to respond to your enquiries however staff will advise of any substantial delays on receipt of your email.

If you are unable to visit the CRC in person, you are welcome to contact us by phone, letter or email. We are able to spend up to 60 minutes on each enquiry. Through our enquiries service we are able to:

  • Search our catalogues, indexes and collections handlists
  • Provide advice from a professional archivist, curator or librarian on potential items of interest, including bibliographical enquiries
  • Search the student records for the University of Edinburgh to confirm the date and course of study undertaken (subject to the Data Protection Act 1998)
  • Provide quotations for digital imaging services
  • Advise on how to get access to our collections material both in our search rooms and remotely
  • Advise on other archive services and libraries holding material elsewhere
  • If you are unable to visit in person, we may offer an online appointment so that you can view relevant collection items on a visualiser. This is dependent on staff availability. Please note, we will prioritise requests relating to research within the University of Edinburgh.

Our hour of research is designed to provide you with an overview of what would be helpful for your research, confirm items are held in our collections and point you to other items that would be of help and interest.  We would then invite you to visit to make use of our search room facilities to view the item.  If this is not possible then we offer a digitisation service.  For a list of services provided and price guidelines please see our digitisation webpages.

Alternatively you may wish to commission a researcher to visit us and conduct research on your behalf.  We don’t recommend any particular service over another but some researchers are listed on

We aim to acknowledge all enquiries within 24 hours of receipt (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm).

We aim to provide a full response to enquiries within 20 working days, depending on the nature of the request.

The above also applies to Lothian Health Services Archive collections. 

Please note, we do not provide valuations.

What you need to tell us

Please provide full contact details and as much information about your enquiry as possible. If you know any relevant reference numbers or shelfmarks, please include these in your enquiry.

Historic Alumni Enquiries

Some of our alumni records are indexed and can be searched online in the Historic Alumni Database:

Historic Alumni Database Online

Some of our alumni records are now available online. Please check this database before getting in touch.

Alumni Database

When enquiring about historic alumni, it is useful to provide the following informaiton:

  • Full Name
  • Date of graduation or matriculation
  • Date of birth
  • Course of study

Musical Instrument Enquiries

The International Council of Museums' committee which relates to musical instrument collections, CIMCIM, maintains a listing of musical instrument museums and collections all over the world.

Museums do not provide a valuation service. One of the leading auction houses or a reputable appraiser should be able to help to determine the financial value of an instrument.

If you intend to sell an old musical instrument, do not play it and do not have it repaired or 'restored'. Museums and collectors prefer items in as near original condition as possible and if they do decide repairs are necessary they prefer to commission their own work from an expert of their choice.

Collections staff receive many enquiries for help with research at all levels concerning the history of musical instruments and wider musical subjects. Please read the published literature before asking for specialist help. The following books and websites are useful starting points.

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition, (London: Macmillan, 2001)

The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (London: Macmillan, 1984)

Donald H Boalch, ed Charles Mould, Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord, 1440-1840 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995)

Martha Novak Clinkscale, Makers of the Piano 1720-1820 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) and Makers of the Piano volume 2, 1820-1860 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)

William Waterhouse, The New Langwill Index (London: Tony Bingham, 1993)


Centre for Research Collections

Contact details



Main University Library
George Square

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