Library Collections

The University of Wisconsin Libraries comprise a complex and growing system that supports faculty and student research and curricular needs. The information provided here is to keep the campus community informed and involved in the growth and support of our libraries.

The UW-Madison Libraries are the 11th largest research collection in North America. The Libraries serve over 4 million visitors a year and our collections include:

  • More than 7.3 million printed volumes
  • 55,000 serial titles
  • 6.2 million microforms
  • 160 linear feet of manuscripts
  • Over 7 million items in other formats, including government documents, maps, musical scores and more

The campus is served by Memorial Library, the largest library in Wisconsin, as well as numerous subject, professional and special purpose libraries.

The Libraries’ collections are developed and managed by subject librarians. Purchase recommendations from patrons are always welcome.

The UW-Madison Libraries participates as a member of the following consortia: the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) – comprised of Big Ten institutions plus the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois – Chicago), the Council of University of Wisconsin Libraries (CUWL), and the Wisconsin E-Book Consortium. As a benefit of membership in these groups, the Libraries license some of our databases collectively, negotiate discounts on shared electronic resources, coordinate resource sharing, and maximize the efficacy of our expenditures and our expertise.

The UW-Madison Libraries supplement our on-site collections with the resources of the nationally recognized Center for Research Libraries (CRL).

Electronic Collections

Electronic resources are a growing part of UW Madison Libraries collections. There are currently over 20,000 journals available electronically, as well as numerous e-books.

Many of these resources are accessed through more than 650 databases available to UW-Madison library users and through the Library Catalog.

As journal subscriptions continue to evolve from print to electronic access, we consider a number of factors when determining what to offer and how best to do so:
Content, Pricing, Budget, Usage, Access, Functionality, Archiving, Duplication, Licensing Terms

Special Collections

The UW-Madison Libraries have many rare and specialized collections. Among our notable special collections:

UW Digital Collections

Since 2001, the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections (UWDC) has digitized over 1 million pages of texts and images. Among the topics covered are collections related to the state of Wisconsin, Africa Focus, decorative arts, primate literature, the University of Wisconsin, and Southeast Asian Images and Texts. Use this E-Resource Gateway link to see a list of UWDC resources.