Fisher Digital Collections have a new look!


The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and the Information Technology Services (ITS) department are pleased to announce the re-launch of four digital collections, including the UNESCO Memory of the World registered Discovery and Early Development of Insulin, 1920-1925 collection. All four collections are excellent tools for research, and highlight some of the areas of strength in the Fisher collections.

Each of these four founding digital collections has been refreshed on our standards-based Islandora platform, and many items within each collection are now IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) enabled. This exciting emerging standard ( makes these important and unique research resources more readily available for image-based research and enquiry to scholars worldwide. 

We invite you to browse the sites and offer any feedback that you might have.

  • Discovery and Early Development of Insulin, (1920-1925)
    • This site documents the initial period of the discovery and development of insulin, 1920-1925, here at the University of Toronto. It presents over seven thousand page images reproducing original documents ranging from laboratory notebooks and charts, correspondence, writings, and published papers to photographs, awards, clippings, scrapbooks, printed ephemera and artifacts.
    • The History of the Discovery and Early Development of Insulin collection at the Fisher was recognized as having international significance, and inscribed into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2013.
  • Anatomia 1522-1867: Anatomical Plates from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
    • This collection features approximately 4500 full page plates and other significant illustrations of human anatomy. Each illustration has been fully indexed using medical subject headings (MeSH), and techniques of illustration, artists, and engravers have been identified whenever possible. There are ninety-five individual titles represented, ranging in date from 1522 to 1867.
  • The Barren Lands: J.B. Tyrrell's Expeditions for the Geological Survey of Canada, 1892-1894
    • This site documents two exploratory surveys of the Barren Lands region west of Hudson Bay, in northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and the area now known as Nunavut. Drawing on materials from the J.B. Tyrrell, James Tyrrell and related collections at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, it includes over 5,000 images from original field notebooks, correspondence, photographs, maps and published reports.
  • Wenceslaus Hollar Digital Collection
    • This digital collection features over 2500 of the prints of Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677), a great master of the art of etching. The lion’s share of Hollar’s work was produced in and about his adopted England, but his artistic interest was broad ranging and the site also includes religious and historical prints, maps, portraits, costumes, and natural history.