Curatorial support

The Library’s Special Collections team includes curators and other staff with expertise in supporting research. We can help in several ways.

A Library curator shows a manuscript to two students

Searching collections

  • We can help you navigate through the variety of catalogues and finding aids to identify sources relevant to your research.
  • We can use our extensive knowledge of the collections to suggest sources relevant to your research, saving you time.
  • We can tell you about uncatalogued material, such as recent acquisitions that haven’t yet been catalogued.


Many curators are experts on the history of the book and of textual and visual materials generally.

  • We can offer advice on the materiality and technical features of objects, and the history of our collections. 
  • We may be able tell you whether other researchers have worked on the same material. This may save you valuable time by avoiding duplication, or provide opportunities for collaboration. Please note that the Data Protection Act prevents us from disclosing the identities of other researchers without their consent.
  • We can provide advice on citation, copyright and data protection issues, and give permission for publishing transcriptions of manuscripts and archives.


  • We can put you in touch with the Library’s imaging experts, who use advanced imaging techniques to reveal hidden texts and under-drawings, and to analyse pigments, for example.
  • Our conservators can advise on the construction and materiality of objects, and offer specialist handling advice.
  • We can support your research funding applications, with specialist advice and costings.

In fact, if your research proposal relates to our Special Collections, it is essential to talk to us at the earliest opportunity.