Studying Effectively

Finding manuscripts/archives

National archives


For students in the UK

Using the University’s Manuscripts online catalogue

Unlike library books, manuscripts and archives are not arranged by subject matter. They are kept as they were created and used, in their original groupings, so researchers can understand the context of a document.

The contents of over 600 collections held at the University of Nottingham are described online through the Manuscripts online catalogue. There will be an entry giving an overview of the whole collection, then further entries in a hierarchy giving more detailed descriptions of sections of the collection, and of individual documents.

Archive catalogues do not include digital images or full transcripts of the documents they describe. They are a tool to help you decide if you want to see the original item.

You can also find information about the manuscripts and archives in NUsearch, but it's easier to search for them in the Manuscripts online catalogue.

Finding rare books on NUsearch

Items from the rare book collections are catalogued on the NUsearch (UK only). They will be shown with the location as King's Meadow Campus, and be part of a named collection.

To see the books in a specific special collection, in the advanced search put the name of the collection as your search term, and change “All Fields” to “Collection”. 

More information on catalogues

When you find something you'd like to see, and it's not available online, you can contact Manuscripts and Special Collections to make an appointment to visit the Reading Room.

Documents available on the internet

Items from the collections are increasingly being digitised and put online in subject galleries. More images of archives and rare books used in are in the Exhibitions and Gallery section of the Manuscripts and Special Collections website, which provides links to online versions of exhibitions.

A growing number of online resources and research guidance units include images of manuscripts and archives, with advice on how to use them effectively.



Quicklinks for UK students

Further reading for UK students

Manuscripts and special collections

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Reading and interpreting sources and data


Studying Effectively

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3666
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