May 21, 2022

Harry Potter 20 Years: The New York Academy of Medicine Library Launches Hogwarts-themed Digital Collection

From the NYAM Library:

2017-06-26_18-40-20To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The New York Academy of Medicine Library has launched a special digital collection, “How to Pass Your O.W.L.s at Hogwarts: A Prep Course.” Featuring rare books dating back to the 15th century, the collection reveals the history behind many of the creatures, plants and other magical elements that appear in the Harry Potter series, from mandrakes to basilisks to Nicholas Flamel and the philosopher’s stone itself.


The digital collection is organized as a fictional study aid for Hogwarts students preparing for their important magical exams, the O.W.L.s. The collection is organized into seven Hogwarts courses, featuring historical content related to each area of magical study. For example, the Care of Magical Creatures section features spectacular centuries-old drawings of dragons, unicorns and basilisks (mythical reptiles), while the Transfiguration section focuses on alchemy and the work of Nicholas Flamel—a historical figure who is fictionalized in Rowling’s books.

While the History of Magic taught at Hogwarts is largely fictional, the Academy Library contains books in the real-life history of magic, including the 1658 manual Natural Magick by Giovanni Battista della Porta and a book on witch-hunting by della Porta’s rival, Jean Bodin—two highlights of the digital collection. Another featured treasure is an actual bezoar (a giant hairball from the stomach of a cow, and a key potions ingredient used by Hogwarts students) owned by the library.

Read the Complete Launch Announcement

Direct to the How to Pass Your O.W.L.s at Hogwarts: A Prep Course

See Also: Direct to Digital Collections Website Available From NYAM
ew version of site launched earlier this month. Learn more.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.