Manuscripts and Special Collections

Digital Gallery

The Manuscripts and Special Collections Digital Gallery on NUsearch showcases a selection of digitised photographs, illustrations, maps and other documents held by the University of Nottingham Manuscripts and Special Collections.

The Digital Gallery gives access to a broad range of materials covering different subjects, many of which have featured in our exhibitions. It has a particular focus on visual materials from our manuscripts, archives and rare books.


We have grouped items by subject or theme into collections, some of which are further divided into sub-collections. Select the collection you are interested in to see all items on that theme as thumbnail images, Click on an item to find out more and access the full image.

The Digital Gallery is fully integrated in NUsearch, meaning you can search and discover these resources alongside other library resources.

You can download copies or share the URL of a digital resource by clicking the download or share icons. Images are low resolution (72 dpi) for web display. If you need a higher resolution copy, we can help through our Reprographics Service.

More detailed instructions on how to use the Digital Gallery are available.

Terms of use

Images and other digital files in NUsearch can be used for research for a non-commercial purpose or private study.

Permission must be sought for any other use of the content. Please contact Manuscripts and Special Collections with full details of your requirements. High resolution images may be available on request. See our Reprographics Service page for details and charges.

Takedown policy

The Manuscripts and Special Collections Digital Gallery is subject to the library takedown policy.

Frequently asked questions

Can I see the original item?
The majority of items in the Manuscripts and Special Collections Digital Gallery can be viewed in the Manuscripts and Special Collections Reading Room at King’s Meadow Campus. However, there are some exceptions, where the original is fragile and has been digitised in order to protect the vulnerable original.

The Reading Room is open from 9am-6pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-5pm on Friday. Please see our Visiting the Reading Room pages for more information.
I have seen an item I like and wish to obtain a copy
If you only want the item for your personal use, you can download the file by clicking on the ‘download’ icon. In the Image Viewer, this is in the top right corner of the panel containing the image. In the Universal Viewer, this is in the bottom left corner.

Images are low-resolution (72 dpi) for web display. If you require a copy in a higher resolution, we can normally provide one through our Reprographics Service. A list of current prices for providing high-resolution digital copies is available. You will need to fill in a copyright declaration form.

You will also need to fill in a Permission to Publish form if you intend to publish any item from the Manuscripts and Special Collections Digital Gallery. This includes print and online publishing, and publishing to web pages and social media.

Please include the Document Reference or Barcode of the item on the forms.

Download the forms from the Reprographics Service page, and email them to Manuscripts and Special Collections (
How many digital items are there and how do they fit into the rest of the Library’s collections?
At the time of launch of the Manuscripts and Special Collections Digital Gallery, it contained around 1,500 digital items.

This is a very small proportion of the approximately 3 million manuscripts, and pages from around 80,000 printed books, which are cared for by Manuscripts and Special Collections.

The digitised items are often photographs or illustrations, but sometimes images of written documents. The item is presented together with a description and other basic information (metadata). In many cases, the item only represents one page from a much larger book, or a single item from a bundle of manuscripts.

All material cared for by Manuscripts and Special Collections is described in NUSearch. To find items from any collection, use the default All Collections search. Any relevant items found will appear alongside other results. You can choose to filter results by Library > Manuscripts and Special Collections (KMC) if you wish.

If you only want to see catalogue descriptions of manuscripts and archives, you can select ‘Manuscripts and Archives’ from the Resource Type filter. This will only retrieve descriptions of our holdings, not the digital items themselves. To filter your results to only those from the Digital Gallery, do an All Collections search, and then select the new Availability filter 'Show digital resources'. The digital items appear in the Resource Type filter under the terms ‘Image’, ‘Manuscript’, ‘Book’, ‘Map’ or ‘Audio Visual’, depending on what type of thing the original item is.

An All Collections search may bring up two results for the same item:
•    a result headed ‘Manuscript’, with ‘Link to catalogue record’. This result describes the item in words
•    a result headed ‘Image’, ‘Map’, ‘Manuscript’ etc, with link to ‘Full text available online’. This result describes the digital copy and includes a link to see the digitised item in the Image Viewer or the Universal Viewer

The two records will contain the same Document Reference or Barcode number, which is Manuscripts and Special Collections’ unique number for the original item. This data is in the ‘Identifier’ field in the ‘Manuscript’ result, and in the ‘Document Reference or Barcode’ field in the ‘Image’ result.

We hope eventually to amalgamate the results together so that a description of the original item can contain a link to the digital version. However, this work was not part of the initial scope of the Digital Gallery project.
Will everything be digitised?
No. We hold over 3 million manuscripts and many thousands of books in the printed collections, and have no plans for comprehensive digitisation of all of them. Our digitisation strategy is shaped by a number of factors, including demand on items for teaching, learning, and research, preservation of fragile material, requirements of exhibition and outreach work
What is the difference between jpg and jp2?
Jp2 (Jpeg 2000) images give higher resolution, and show more detail than a jpg. They open up in the Universal Viewer, which allows you to zoom in to see the 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