March 13, 2017, by Kathryn Steenson

Launch of the iBook ‘Parchment, Paper & Pixels’

On 28 February Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, formally launched our first iBook ‘Parchment, Paper and Pixels: Highlights from Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham’.

Image of a red and gold dragon taken from a medieval manuscript and used in the iBook cover

The iBook showcases some of the treasures held in Manuscripts and Special Collections, with a range of short articles illustrated with images, sound and video. It includes mediaeval manuscripts, archives, maps, posters, photographs, rare printed books and music and covers the globe from Iceland to China by way of Nottingham and the Soviet Union. Notable personalities featured include Robin Hood and DH Lawrence and it introduces the father of English geology, William Smith, and one of the world’s first ornithologists, Francis Willughby.

Two men scrolling through the iBook on a tablet in the Reading Room

The iBook is also available on a dedicated ipad in the Reading Room.

Manuscripts and Special Collections staff and a range of international experts from both within the University and from across the world  selected some of their favourite items from our holdings. We would like to thank them for generously giving up their time to share their knowledge and expertise and also the owners of collections who have given permission for their materials to be used in the iBook. It has been been produced in partnership with colleagues in Learning Technology, and supported by a generous donation form the late John Robinson, a history graduate and supporter of the University.

Professor Gregory standing the Reading Room making a speech

Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Arts

Mark Dorrington, Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections commented that “‘Parchment, Paper and Pixels’ can only provide a taster to our rich collections. We hope you will be intrigued by our selection and it will whet your appetite to find out more. Our collections are already used for teaching, research and public engagement within the University but we hope that this iBook will bring them to the attention of a wider global audience.”.

Map of the Chinese province with watercolour highlights for geographical features, and Chinese figures around the legend

One of the iBook treasures is this map of Zhejiang Province, 1655 (MS 416/10)

The iBook has been produced to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the move to the Kings’ Meadow Campus which provided more expansion space for the collections and improved facilities for conservation and digitisation.

A couple of short preview videos are available. Parchment, Paper and Pixels can be accessed at

Inspired? Many of the items featured in the iBook can be seen in the Reading Room at King’s Meadow Campus. Contact us to make an appointment.

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