Manuscripts and Special Collections

Introduction to Caring for the Collections

Acid-free folders, wrapping paper and tape
Archives, record offices, and library departments like Manuscripts and Special Collections hold rare books, unique manuscripts, and collections of documents, and make them available to researchers.

The collections represent a small fraction of what once existed and their continued survival must be ensured. They face many risks of damage or loss, resulting both from their vulnerability as material objects and from our wish to view and study them. 

Curators and readers have a common interest in protecting them. This involves responsibility in providing good storage and safe access, care in handling the materials safely, and the occasional use of surrogate copies to protect originals from too much wear and tear.

This set of web pages explores the many different types of materials cared for by The University of Nottingham, their physical features, the environmental and physical hazards they may have been exposed to, and the simple steps that can be taken by curators, researchers, and anyone currently caring for original materials, to ensure that precious books and documents are kept safe for future generations.


Next page: Types of collection and their physical features

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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