Digital resources

Digitized prints from the Iron Library


e-rara / History of Technology and Science (Iron Library) is the portal for digitized printed works from Swiss libraries. These works range from books and maps to illustrated materials – from the earliest days of book printing to the 20th century.

In cooperation with the Library of the ETH in Zurich, the Iron Library has had 44 printed volumes digitized in 2017. They are available free of charge at in the thematic collection "History of technology and science" of the Iron Library.

The collection provides an overview of the Iron Library's collection interests. The majority of the digitized copies are works of an historical nature on general technology and science from the 16th to the early 19th centuries along with works published in Switzerland, first those from Basel. At a later date the thematic focus will shift to works in the fields of mining and metallurgy.

Further books will be digitized in the coming years.

Digitized manuscripts from the Iron Library



The e-codices portal is Switzerland's virtual manuscripts library, containing at present about 1,500 digitized manuscripts with over 500,000 pages from 63 different collections. The aim of e-codices is to make all medieval and a selection of modern manuscripts in Switzerland freely available.

The Iron Library's oldest book, the Albertus Magnus manuscript from the 13th century, has been digitized on e-codices since 2006. In 2015, the Iron Library had six newer manuscripts from the 15th to the 19th century digitized in cooperation with e-codices. You can download the manuscripts on your PC at home, your tablet or your smartphone to study them in detail.

The digital photographs are of a very high quality and are freely available for non-commercial use (Creative Commons license BY-NC). The manuscripts are all described in German, English, French and Italian, and the descriptions can be edited by registered users.

Have a look at the manuscripts:

Digitized periodical from the Iron Library

"Ferrum" on e-periodica

Ferrum auf

All the past issues of our journal "Ferrum" and its predecessor back to 1954 are now full-text searchable on the e-periodica platform of the ETH Library and are freely available for non-commercial use in teaching and research and for private users. The current issue goes online one year after it appears in print.

Digital resources from other libraries

A small selection

Schaufenster Technikgeschichte

The Technology History Showcase of the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) offers direct access to more than 5,000 digitized books from its own holdings. The Special Interest Collection for the History of Technology at the SLUB Dresden was unfortunately discontinued at the end of 2015.

e-rara is the platform for digitized printed matter from the 15th to 19th century from Swiss libraries. At present, there are more than 35,000 titles available. The digitized works can be downloaded free of charge in PDF format. Of particular interest is the History of Science Collection of the ETH Library with more than 10,500 digitized titles.

The catalog of the SWB's public-domain online resources contains digital media from all subject areas that may be used without a license.

The Linda Hall Library Digital Collections provide access to more than 13,000 titles on the history of science and technology from the holdings of the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, USA. The Linda Hall Library is one of the largest special subject libraries for the history of science and technology.

The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology in Washington DC has digitized part of its holdings, including the famous "Heralds of Science". Under this heading Bern Dibner in 1955 selected the two hundred publications that in his view were pioneering in the development of science and technology.

Or are you looking for an exciting introduction to the history of science?

If you've got time for 56 videos…

...we recommend the History of Science: Beginnings to the Age of Newton, a series of entertaining and compelling videos presented by Kerry Magruder from the University of Oklahoma. Incidentally, in these videos you'll meet with many books that you can also find in the Iron Library.