In 2005 IISH acquired the Academy Library (library of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences) - a collection of around 200,000 volumes related to all branches of science, the humanities and the liberal arts.
The Academy Library forms a splendid addition to the IISH collections. By their sheer number the books provide an interesting picture of the development of science from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. A distinguished and often comprehensive collection of learned journals from the seventeenth century onwards is included.
The Academy Library is primarily a historic collection. It contains works of almost all scientific disciplines from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. Although most of these works have lost their scientific topicality, they remain of much interest to historians of science. In the past few years the kind of knowledge that has been brought together in the Academy Library has itself increasingly become a subject of social-economic historical research.
It represents a significant part of what Joel Mokyr has called the 'propositional knowledge' - or scientific knowledge about the 'what' and 'why' of things - that during the European Industrial Revolution forged a unique link with the more practically oriented 'prescriptive knowledge', more concerned with the 'how' of things. The implications this carried for European economic growth and expansion now form an important element in the debate about the rise of the 'knowledge economy', which no longer only plays out in the areas of intellectual history or the history of science.
The Academy Library's contents are surprisingly close to the areas of interest of IISH. This is because the IISH library has traditionally comprised many titles on humanities and the arts and because in the course of time collections of various disciplines have been included - the Netherlands Economic-Historic Archive / Economic-Historic Library (NEHA / EHB) [text only available in Dutch] is but one example.
This presentation shows twelve special editions from the Academy Library to illustrate the close connections between Academy Library and IISH collections and research.
The text is an adapted version of 'Lectures on the Library of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences', originally published in: On the Waterfront, Newsletter no. 11 of the Friends of the IISH, 2005. Compilation by Jan Lucassen.