The documents belonging to the special collections constituted by external sources contain – when they exist – the inherent principles to their acquisition and to their cataloguing, as well as the contracts and correspondence establishing the legal nature of the deposit (transfer of ownership or deposit) and the restrictions regarding their consultation (restricted access to the collections, partial restrictions or limited access to authorised users). There are restrictions to the consultation of these collections. The new acquisitions are partially listed in the card catalogue of the Swiss Literary Archives.
The level of cataloguing of these archival collections is usually superficial due to the fact they were catalogued by the person or association who constituted them. The main research tools are the tables of contents and lists that figure in the corresponding dossiers. On site consultation – up to now, the normal type of consultation – is no longer possible.
Consultation of the non-catalogued special collections has only been possible up to now upon written request. Consultation of most fonds falls under the loans regulations of the Swiss Literary Archives, of the Print Room and of the Swiss National Library in general; furthermore, consultation of certain fonds is restricted by the conditions stipulated in the contracts established when the collections were acquired by the SNL. The book collection listed in the SNL catalogues can be consulted in the library’s main reading room.
The following are collections of catalogued books that can be consulted in the reading room of SNL:
- Foreign publications (non Helvetica) call number E
- Closed special collections (thematic, in foreign languages)
- Hoepli Fonds X2
- American book collection X3
- Emma Pieczynska-Reichenbach FondsX4
- Salvation Army book collection X5
- Marcel Godet book collection X6
- Rolf van Leyden book collection X7
- Lüthi Bible Collection SL
- Swiss Society for Genealogic studies Library GF
- Finn Friis Library
- Swiss Gutenberg Museum Specialised Library (partial) GMFB
- Indica Desaï Collection D
- Censured documents of the First and Second World Wars collection (partial) CENS
The following special collections are part of the General Collections:
- Maps and topographic material
- Printed Music (partial)
- Audiovisual documents, CD-ROMs and other electronic medias
- Reference books (bibliographies, reference collection in the reading room and bibliographic information services)
- Documents by international organisations based in Switzerland