anuscripts and Special Collections

April 23, 2018, by Katherine Beers

Opening up the University of Nottingham archives

In May 2018, NUsearch will offer a newly integrated discovery route to all of our library, manuscripts and archives collections. Presenting a fuller picture of our extensive and unique collections for students, researchers and staff.

Manuscripts and Special Collections is responsible for approximately 3 million documents, which are available for everyone to consult in the Reading Room at King’s Meadow Campus. The material ranges from 12th century parchment deeds to 21st century digital records.

Major collections include the estate papers and correspondence of prominent local aristocratic families, original papers relating to the writer D.H. Lawrence, the records of the Nottingham Archdeaconry court, medieval illuminated manuscripts, archives of hospitals and water authorities, non-conformist churches, textile manufacturers, and many more. Manuscripts and Special Collections also holds the historical records of the University itself. The Manuscripts and Special Collections website contains a wealth of information about these incredible collections, and the Parchment, Paper and Pixels i-book presents an engaging introduction if you are able to download from iTunes.

The manuscript collections are catalogued in detail on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, using professional archive cataloguing standards which are different from those used in libraries. Until now, researchers undertaking an initial search for relevant material for their topic have had to search the library catalogue and the manuscripts catalogue separately.

However, manuscript and archive descriptions will soon become a new collection in NUsearch. This will allow you to enter a keyword search for your topic of interest and retrieve results from the manuscript and archive collections alongside results from printed library materials, journal articles and other resources.

Andrew Harrison, Associate Professor in English Literature and Director of the D. H. Lawrence Research Centre in the School of English:

 “The important Lawrence collections in Manuscripts and Special Collections are very diverse, comprising print materials as well as manuscripts, newspaper articles, and many other research items and objects. Now, for the first time, it is possible to use NUsearch to locate all of these items. It is a brilliant innovation.”


More information and user guides will be provided when the service is live.

This post was written by Kathryn Summerwill Systems Archivist from the University of Nottingham Manuscripts and Special Collections department.

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