Manuscripts and Special Collections

Searching the catalogues

Online versions of our catalogues of health-related collections are growing all the time. Users wishing to search online for hospitals and health-related archives may find the following information and advice useful.

University of Nottingham Library Catalogue (NUsearch)

Many of the books held in Special Collections are catalogued on the University of Nottingham Library Catalogue (NUsearch).

The following is a list of special collections which include material relating to health and hospitals, with the codes that can be used in an advanced search for 'collection' in NUsearch. In each case, there is a link to the catalogue entry on Manuscripts and Special Collections' online catalogue, which gives more details about the scope of the collection, and guidance on how to browse and search for items in the particular collection:


Collection Level Descriptions

The Manuscripts Online Catalogue contains overall descriptions of each health-related manuscript collection. They can be accessed directly by clicking the arrow next to 'Discover the Collections' and choosing 'Browse by subject/type'. Select 'Health records'. This will retrieve a full list of all the collections in question. Alternatively, they can be browsed from the links in the Collections at Nottingham University Library  page in this resource.  


Item level catalogues

Some manuscript collections have been catalogued in detail, giving descriptions of each individual item or bundle. These descriptions are available as part of the Manuscripts Online Catalogue . Not every collection has been catalogued to item level.

Item descriptions can be retrieved by searching for the collection's reference number. For instance, in the Advanced Search in the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, type 'Uhg' into the 'Document Ref' field to retrieve all records from the Nottingham General Hospital collection.

Alternatively, the whole scope of each collection can be browsed from any catalogue record within that collection. Click on the hyperlink in the Document Reference field to open the hierarchy tree. Alternatively, use the search strategies listed in the next section below to retrieve results from across a number of catalogues. 

The following health-related catalogues are available at item level on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue: 


Search strategies

From the opening search screen of the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, click on 'Advanced Search'. You can conduct a free text search across multiple fields by typing a keyword into the 'AnyText' box.

If you find you are retrieving a number of false hits, you can narrow your search down by using the other search options. For instance, type your required search term into the 'AnyText' box, and also type 'Uhc' into the 'Document Reference' box. This will ensure that only results from the Nottingham Children's Hospital collection are retrieved.

Searches can also be narrowed down by date. Type your required search term into 'AnyText', and also type the exact year, or a range of years, into the 'Date' field. You can even combine this with a 'Document Reference' search to target the search still further.

Remember to try alternative spellings if there are no initial results. 

The main hospital collections have not been indexed at item level to a very detailed extent, but all collection level descriptions, plus item level records from the Newcastle, Portland, Denison and Buchanan collections can be searched via name, place or subject indexes. 

By selecting the drop-down arrow next to 'Advanced and index searches', you will be able to use the 'People Search' search form and access individual name authority terms - for example, the name authority for Florence Nightingale (enter 'Nightingale' in the surname field and 'Florence' in the forename field). From this, you will be able to link directly to a description of every document from, to or about Miss Nightingale. This also works for corporate names (names of businesses or organisations) such as 'Nottingham General Hospital'. 

By selecting the 'Place Search' form you can search all of the place name authorities included within the system. Therefore, if you wish to know more about events in a particular place, you could access information by entering the place name in the 'CityTownVillage' field. This will retrieve the name authority term for that place, and will enable you to link to every catalogue record containing information about the place. 

You will also be able to conduct a subject search of descriptions contained within the catalogue, by putting a search term in the 'Term' box of the standard Advanced Search. For example you could retrieve every document with the subject index term 'inoculation', whether inoculation was mentioned explicitly in the document/description or not.  


Subject terms

A list of possible relevant subject terms is provided here for guidance purposes. The terms specified are simply a selection, and relate predominantly to general health matters. If a term does not appear in the list, this does not mean that it will not appear in the online catalogue.

  • alcohol
  • almshouses
  • appointments, medical
  • bereavement
  • birth
  • buildings, hospitals
  • burial grounds
  • charities
  • charity
  • childbirth and pregnancy
  • clubs and societies
  • committees
  • conferences
  • courses
  • death
  • dental treatment
  • education
  • employees
  • employment
  • famine
  • food and drink
  • fundraising
  • health
  • Health services administration
  • health and safety
  • hospitals
  • Maternal health services
  • medical conditions [sometimes with an added descriptor]
  • Medical care
  • Medical libraries
  • medical treatments [sometimes with an added descriptor]
  • Medicine
  • Mental health services
  • Midwives
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nursing
  • occupations and professions [with added descriptor, e.g. dentist, doctor, nurse, surgeon]
  • Operations
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Pharmacists
  • philanthropy
  • poverty
  • quarantine
  • social conditions
  • students
  • Surgeons
  • Surgery


Next page: Related collections held elsewhere


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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