Skip to Main Content
The University of Edinburgh home
Show/hide site search
Information Services

Celtic and Scottish Studies

This guide provides a general introduction to Library resources relating to Celtic and Scottish Studies.

Library Services Update

The web link below takes you to the up-to-date information about access to the Library collections, facilities and services, and how to get further help.


The Library collections on Celtic and Scottish Studies subjects are rich and diverse held across several Library sites:

Main Library -- current lending material in printed or other physical forms such as books, journals, and audio-visual on all all subject topics in arts, humanities and social science.

The School of Scottish Studies Archives -- a vital repository of Scottish culture and ethnography, and an internationally significant hub for teaching and research in folklore, material culture, and the traditional arts, with 16,000 hours of sound and video recordings, a major photographic collection, and a rich variety of manuscript material. are Among the Sound Archive recordings are tales, songs, music, local history and folklore, and ethnographic information recorded from communities in all traditionally Gaelic-speaking areas of the Highlands and Islands as well as the Gaelic diaspora from 1951 onwards. The School’s rich manuscript holdings include nearly 10,000 pages concerning Gaelic custom and belief recorded for the Folklore Society under the auspices of Robert Craig Maclagan (1839–1919).

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) -- holds a substantial collection of manuscripts and archives relating to Celtic and Gaelic culture and Scottish Studies, such as the Carmichael Watson Collection, Donald Mackinnon Collection, David Laing Collection, Scottish Literary Archives, Scottish Enlightenment Archives, Walter Scott Digital Archive, etc.

New College Library -- collections there contain over 400 Gaelic monographs and pamphlets dating from the 18th to 20th centuries.

Celtic Library -- Celtic Studies class library with a good collection on Irish, Scottish and Welsh History; on Placenames; on Irish, Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton Languages and Literature; and on Folklore. It largely duplicates Celtic resources in the Main Library Collections.

Law Library -- Scots statutory material, legal reports, legal journals, etc.

There are a siginicant amount of electronic resources for the subject area in the form of bibliographies, citation indexes, e-books, eE-journals, digital manuscripts, book reviews, newspapers, dissertations and theses, audio-visual materials, conference proceedings and more, which can be accessed by University staff and students at anytime on and off campus.

The Main collections page provides a general introduction to the physical collections. Information on electronic resources for Celtic and Scottish Studies is available in the Databases section of this guide.

How to find items in your reading list

Use DiscoverEd to search for books, journals, journal articles, DVDs and other physical and electronic items. Use your University Login to sign into your account and manage loans and requests.



Use Resource Lists to find your course reading lists. Lookup reading lists by list title, course title, course code, course instructors. Use the 'Subject' dropdown selection list to browse all the Resource Lists in your subject area such as 'Celtic' or 'Scottish Ethnology'.

     Resource lists

     Information for Students

Please note that not all the courses at the University use Resource Lists.

Accessing material not in the Library collection

If the library does not have what you want then there are several ways of getting access to the material:

The National Library of Scotland

Conveniently located within ten minutes' walk of the University's Main Library, the National Library of Scotland (NLS) holds huge collections of primary and secondary source matierials relating to Celtic and Scottish Studies.

The Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Service

This allows you to request material either held at distant university library sites including the  University Collections Facility, or material not held by the university. 

Book Recommendations

If you are unable to find the book that you need for your studies then use the Student Request a Book (RaB) service to recommend a purchase.

Visit another library

It may be possible (and sometimes quicker) to visit another library in the UK to get access to the item you require. Some reciprocal schemes and agreements allow our staff and students access to some other libraries.

Academic Support Librarian

Highlights of Library collections on Celtic and Scottish subjects

Celtic Psalter

The oldest Scottish book still in Scotland, dating to the 11th century, and perhaps also the Library's greatest treasure. This is the oldest of some 275 Western medieval manuscripts in oru collection. Special Collections, MS.56. Link to the full volume.

Gaelic Liturgy

Gaelic Liturgy

The first book printed in any of the Gaelic languages, in 1567. This is the only copy in Scotland. Special Collections Dd.10.44.

The book has been fully digitised and can be viewed online.

The Secret Commonwealth, 1692

Robert Kirk (1644-1692) was a minister and Gaelic scholar who is best known for this manuscript on fairy superstitions and the second sight. As well as pioneering the translation of the Bible into Scottish Gaelic, Kirk collected traditions of elves, ghosts and witchcraft.

Related subject guides

Subject Guides from other disciplines may offer useful information, depending on the area of your research interest.