Manuscripts and Special Collections

Collecting Policies

The collections held by Manuscripts and Special Collections (MSC) have been built up over more than 80 years. Local historical materials were initially acquired to supplement the core printed collections of the University Library, and the archive service was established on a professional footing in the 1940s. Responsibility for the library's rare book and local studies print collections, including extensive map and newspaper material, was subsequently added.

Through the acquisition of unique and rare materials, MSC extends the scope of collecting policies pursued by library Faculty Teams in their support of the research, learning, teaching and business activities of the University. The richness of the holdings, and the relevance of their contents to a wider audience, is acknowledged both within and beyond the University.

The collections have benefited greatly from the generosity of donors and depositors. Their growth continues in line with the brief descriptions below and the attached policies.

For further information and to propose possible additions for the collections, please contact staff through the departmental mail address:  

Separate collecting policies support the continued development of the three categories of collection: Manuscripts and Archives; Rare Book Collections; and the East Midlands Collection.

Manuscripts and Archives

The Acquisitions Policy was first drawn up in accordance with the Historical Manuscripts Commission’s Standard for Record Repositories (2001) and approved by University Council. It has since been revised in accordance with The National Archive’s Standard for Record Repositories, 2004.  The policy defines the following five areas.

  1. Historical papers and archives of the East Midlands, building upon established strengths
  2. Material with a curriculum or research relevance to The University of Nottingham
  3. Papers of and concerning the life, work and legacy of D H Lawrence
  4. Archives and historical records of the University itself and its predecessor bodies
  5. Material associated with the history of The University of Nottingham, including the private papers of former members of staff and alumni

 See the full policy  for further details. 

Rare Book Collections

The rare book holdings have developed and are curated as a series of separate named collections, defined by subject or provenance. They comprise library materials that, because of their age or rarity, vulnerable physical condition or other special significance, are managed separately from the general library stock.

There are close connections between the rare book collections and the University’s core library holdings. A number of the collections consist of transfers from library branches. Library Faculty Teams acquire current literature which reflects the research and teaching use being made of MSC holdings.

There is also a strong link with the manuscript and archival holdings of MSC. Several  named rare book collections complement collections in the manuscript sequence (e.g. D H Lawrence).

The acquisition policy for the rare book collections aims to build on the existing strengths of the collections, and to develop new strengths to meet identified curriculum and research needs. Rare published material which supports the manuscript collections is particularly sought.

See the full policy  for further details.   

The East Midlands Collection

The East Midlands Collection contains books, pamphlets, periodicals and other materials on the historic counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.  These amount to over 8000 books and 9000 pamphlets with more than 900 periodical titles.

The majority of the collection is available on open access shelves in the Reading Room and most books and pamphlets can be borrowed by registered members of the University Library. Some titles are held within the Rare Books series in the store and access is restricted.  This status applies to all pre-1850 items.

The acquisitions policy aims to build on the strengths of the East Midlands Collection as a resource of printed literature about the entire region.  It does not seek complete coverage in any single county, but acknowledges the strengths of the local studies holdings in the relevant county libraries. 

Acquisitions are particularly sought which support current research and teaching at the University and which complement strengths in both the manuscript and rare book holdings of MSC and the general book stock of the University library, but not on subjects where local public library holdings have particular strengths.

See the full policy for further details. 

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651