About the National Oceanographic Library

The National Oceanographic Library is a national resource for the UK marine and earth science community. The National Oceanographic Library supports staff and students at the NOC, Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton, the University of Southampton as a whole and the Natural Environment Council research libraries.

It is run as a partnership agreement with the National Oceanography Centre and University of Southampton as equal partners. The Library also provides a specialist information service to the marine science community and its collections are open to members of the public for reference.

The National Oceanographic Library

  • Collects, organises and provides access to scientific literature to support teaching and research
  • Provides guidance and training on specialist information resources
  • Records the research output of the scientists at NOC and OES and provides analysis of outputs
  • Provides specialist knowledge of publication processes in particular open access
  • Provides specialist knowledge on archives and collections
  • Manages the production of printed NOC cruise and research reports
  • Provides an innovative space for collaborative research and learning.

History of National Oceanographic Library

The original library collection was formed from the Discovery Library, housed in Queen Anne’s Gate, the Admiralty, London where it supported the members of the Discovery Committee between 1925 to 1945. The collection is rich in special collection items including expedition reports and books dating from the 1770s, archives of the Discovery Committee and the Discovery ships, including over 2,500 images of the expeditions between 1925–1940. The collection moved and formed the basis of the Library at the National Institute of Oceanography in Wormley, Surrey after the Second World War.

The National Oceanographic Library was given its title in the 1980s in recognition of its importance as a significant collection of marine resources in the UK. Its value as a national library continued to be maintained and the management structure was put in place working within in the University Library when it transferred to the Southampton Oceanography Centre in 1995. As part of the establishment of the Library in the new location, the collection expanded to include not only marine science with collections from the Department of Oceanography but also, marine geophysics resources from the Physics Department and geology resources from the Geology Department.

The Library continues to acquire resources from marine and earth science to support the education and research of the Centre. All of the resources within the National Oceanographic Library have been purchased with funding from National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton or are donated.

National Oceanographic Library Collections

The collection, which is comprehensive from the mid-19th century, includes books, reports , loose papers, expedition reports, journals, conference proceedings, maps, atlases and charts covering the subject areas of oceanography, deep-sea research and earth sciences including, geology and geophysics.

The National Oceanographic Library includes resources on estuarine, coastal and shelf sea circulation wind wave dynamics, sediment transport processes, global sea level science, geodetic oceanography, marine technology and operational oceanography.

To check the collections at the National Oceanographic Library please use Library Search.