Virtual Reading Room

Photograph of a machine with rare book on book pillow, against a glass window with screen.
Wolfvision visualiser machine, Baillieu Library Reading Room

What is the Virtual Reading Room?

The Virtual Reading Room (VRR) is a pilot service designed to extend access to items from the University of Melbourne’s Archives and Special collections to those who cannot attend campus in person. Using high-resolution cameras and video conferencing technology, we can bring our collections directly to you in a one-on-one online VRR session.

Photograph of Rare Book on visualiser machine
Rare Book, Wolfvision visualiser machine, Baillieu Library Reading Room

How it works

By live-streaming a one-on-one consultation through a high-resolution camera, we can meet with you in a Zoom meeting and show you collection items in real time, responding to your requirements and questions. While not replacing an in-person experience, this service could be an excellent way to consult specific collection materials when travel to the Reading Room is not possible.

Large black trolley with visualiser showing Japanese print on screen
Wolfvision Visualiser, Baillieu Library Reading Room

What to expect

VRR consultations are conducted via Zoom and can be up to an hour in length. In our experience so far, the sessions are most successful when there are specific questions that you’d like answered, rather than for broad reading or perusal of our collections. Successful use cases may include:

  • Answering specific research questions about a collection item (eg. Consulting known passages or pages, researching marginalia, comparing editions or imprints etc.)
  • As a discovery service preceding further in-person access or digitisation

We recommend connecting to your session on a LAN connected device where possible, but most Wi-Fi connections will work suitably.

*Please note that not all collection items will be suitable for this service, and some requests may be refused.

Make a booking

If this service may be useful to you, we encourage you to get in touch with us by emailing reading-room@unimelb.edu.au and beginning a conversation about your research needs, the item(s) you are interested in consulting, and your availability.

This service is available to anyone who cannot attend the Reading Room in person, including non-university affiliates, interstate, and international researchers. Please note that scheduling will be based on the local time zone.