The Library is the oldest, and the largest, medical library in Scotland, and one of the largest in the
United Kingdom. The Library and Archives hold over 60,000 books, including a copy of the first edition of the first book printed on medicine - the De Medicina of Celsus, published in 1478 - and almost 1500 journals, some of which are particularly rare. Also held are over 300 externally deposited manuscript collections concerning eminent scientists such as Joseph Black and William Cullen. The Library, Archives, and Journal catalogues can be searched online, although not everything in the library is listed.
The Library and Archives also offers online resources. These resources include articles on the history of the College, Scottish medicine, Scottish physicians and items from the collections; audio of History of Medicine Seminars and interviews with Fellows of the College; watching History of Medicine seminars; Online Exhibitions; the Scottish Medical Service Emergency Committee; and the James Lind Library.
The Scottish Medical Service Emergency Committee online resource provides an index of doctors in Scotland during the First World War. The Scottish Medical Service Emergency Committee controlled the enrolment of doctors in Scotland during the First World War. It was headquartered at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the College was asked to be custodian of the records in 1920.
The James Lind Library online resource illustrates the development of fair tests of treatments in health care throughout history. The material in the Library is organised under methodological Topics, each of which is explained, illustrated and discussed using three different types of document – Essays, Records and Articles. The online resource was created by the James Lind Initiative, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
The Library and Archives also has a blog, and it holds events.