Collection overview

The Gerstein Science Information Centre is the largest science and health science academic library in Canada. It has a print collection of over 1 million volumes of journals and books. The library also provides access to over 100,000 online journals and books.

The Gerstein Library is a contributing member with many other libraries and museums worldwide in the Medical Heritage Library (MHL). The MHL is sponsored by the Division of the History of Medicine at the National Library of Medicine in the United States. Approximately 5500 items with pre-1924 imprints scanned from Gerstein's collection by the Internet Archive were tagged as historically important and added to the publicly accessible collection of items in the Medical Heritage Library.

The University of Toronto Libraries is also a Member of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The BHL is a consortium of major natural history, botanical, and research libraries; to date, the Gerstein Library has contributed over 2.3 million pages of its rare and unique biodiversity literature and images to the BHL.

Special collection

Palomar astronomy collection

When the David Dunlap Observatory closed in the Fall of 2008, two special collections were transferred to the Gerstein Library, in addition to numerous sky atlases and star catalogues.

Both collections require use of light boxes for viewing.

1) The Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (photographic record of the Northern Hemisphere)

Palomar Sky Survey (POSSI)
Palomar Observatory, California, U.S.A. 1948-1958
A collection of 1872 glass plates 14 inches by 14 inches
This collection is housed in 4 cabinets, along with 2 light box devices used to view the plates.

Palomar Sky Survey (POSSII)
POSS II was designed as a northern complement to the U.K. Schmidt survey using 897 plates in each of three wavebands on IIIaJ (blue), IIIaF (red) and IVN (near infrared) plates, respectively.
These films also require use of the light boxes.


2) ESO/SERC (European Southern Observatory/Science and Engineering Research Council Southern Sky Survey) (photographic record of the Southern Hemisphere)

This survey is the southern sky complement of the first and second Palomar sky surveys.
  Chile, 1974-1987
The collection is comprised of 14 inch X 14 inch film: there are 606 slides of B (Quick Blue Survey), 617 slides of R (red), and 609 slides of J (also blue).
The following notes the actual observation dates of the plates composing the ESO(B) Survey over in the period 1973/79, the ESO Red survey, observed in the period 1978/90, and the SRC-J survey at the Anglo-Australian telescope in the period 1974/1987.