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How can Special Collections assist you with your learning and research?

If you are looking for source material for an undergraduate essay, a PhD. thesis, or an academic publication, you will find an extraordinary range of printed books, journals, manuscripts, archives and visual material within our Special Collections.

Our Special Collections constitute one of the most important primary sources in Britain, with over one million individual items located in many hundreds of discrete collections. Faced with such a wealth of material, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Where to start? The possibilities can seem endless.

Before you decide upon a research topic, it is advisable to find out what sources are available, both at the JRUL and elsewhere.

If you are researching for an dissertation or thesis, it is important to talk to your tutor or supervisor at an early stage. They may know of important material either at the Rylands or elsewhere. They may also be able to suggest avenues of research, and ways of improving your proposal.

It is also important to talk to Library staff. We can’t tell you exactly how to do your research, and it certainly isn’t our job to do it for you! But we may know of relevant source material. We may also be able to tell you if someone has worked on a collection or item before. This may save you time in duplicating effort.

Special Collections can benefit your research in several ways: