The history of veterinary science in South Africa can only be appreciated, studied, researched
and passed on to coming generations if historical sources are readily available. In most
countries, material and sources with historical value are often difficult to locate, dispersed
over a large area and not part of the conventional book and journal literature. The Faculty
of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria and its library has access to a large
collection of historical sources. The collection consists of photographs, photographic slides,
documents, proceedings, posters, audio-visual material, postcards and other memorabilia.
Other institutions in the country are also approached if relevant sources are identified in their
collections. The University of Pretoria’s institutional repository, UPSpace, was launched in
2006. This provided the Jotello F. Soga Library with the opportunity to fill the repository
with relevant digitised collections of diverse heritage and learning resources that can
contribute to the long-term preservation and accessibility of historical veterinary sources.
These collections are available for use not only by historians and researchers in South Africa
but also elsewhere in Africa and the rest of the world. Important historical collections such as
the Arnold Theiler collection, the Jotello F. Soga collection and collections of the Onderstepoort
Journal of Veterinary Research and the Journal of the South African Veterinary Association are
highlighted. The benefits of an open access digital repository, the importance of collaboration
across the veterinary community and other prerequisites for the sustainability of a digitisation
project and the importance of metadata to enhance accessibility are covered.