Frequently Asked Questions


Does this catalogue contain information about ALL your holdings?


No, for the following reasons:

  • Not all our holdings have been catalogued, and a few catalogues are not yet available in electronic form.
  • Where more detailed cataloguing exists but only in hardcopy, this will be indicated in the collection level record in the ‘Finding Aids’ field.
  • Any records which are still being worked on by staff, and are currently closed to the public, cannot be found using the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.


Does the catalogue contain images of your holdings?


  • No, the catalogue is a written description of our holdings. You can make an appointment to see the material in our Reading Room or order copies.
  • A selection of images from our collections is available to view on our Historic Online Collections page.
  • Other sections of our website are illustrated with items from the collections. See in particular the Exhibitions section.
  • All images are copyright to The University of Nottingham. If you want to obtain copies or reproduce these images elsewhere, please contact us.


How do I get a copy of an item or request an image for publication?



How can I arrange to see items from your holdings? Do you charge for this? Do I need to make an appointment?


  • We do not charge, and welcome you to our Reading Rooms at King’s Meadow Campus.
  • You are strongly advised to make an appointment so that we can confirm whether the items are available.
  • See the visitor information on our website.


How can I get a general idea about the kind of archives you hold?



How do I find material about an individual, company or organisation?


  • Search the Name index. However, if searching the index doesn’t find the term you are looking for, try doing a free text search in the catalogue.


How do I find material about a particular topic?


  • Search the catalogue, entering a search term into the ‘Subject term’ field.
  • You can search for a relevant search term in the subject term thesaurus before adding it to the search form, by clicking the blue 'Terms' button
  • To search for more than one term at a time click on ‘Refine search criteria’ underneath ‘Subject term’, then enter each of the terms separately in the box labelled ‘With at least one of the fields’.


I found the person name (or placename) record I want, but why doesn't it link to any catalogue records?


  • The records are closed - a small number of records are closed to the public because they are still being worked on. They cannot be viewed in the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, but please contact us and we may be able to give you more information.


I have found the collection I’m interested in. But when I try to build a collection tree, it doesn’t show any records for it (or only some records).


  • If a collection tree doesn’t show a list of records, then no other cataloguing is available for this collection.
  • Check the collection level record for details of any alternative catalogues, such as hardcopy lists (see the 'Finding Aids' field).
  • In a few cases, a tree might not display sub-records because a particularly large collection has been artificially split within the database (to turn a huge tree into several smaller trees). For example, the Newcastle collection (Ne) has no collection tree, but it is possible to view individual trees for Ne C, Ne L, Ne X, etc. Information about split trees can be found in the ‘Finding Aids’ field of the collection level record.
  • If you require further information, please contact us.


Why does my search find no records?


  • Unfortunately the catalogue cannot indicate exactly why a search returns no results, but there are two possible explanations. It might be that your search doesn't match anything in the catalogue. Try searching again using a free text search. Alternatively, the records may be in a collection that is currently closed to the public.

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