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How do I find out more about the Special Collections?

Image - card index catalogue

The University of Manchester Library holds the second most significant university library special collections after The University of Oxford.

There are several ways to find out about our amazing Special Collections.


The best way to get an overview is to look at the online Guide to Special Collections.

It contains summary descriptions of hundreds of collections, with links to more detailed catalogues.

Many of the Library’s Subject Guides also include sections on Special Collections.

We are developing an online Image Collection containing many thousands of high quality digital images of books, manuscripts and archives. 

Rare Books and Maps

The majority of Special Collections rare books and maps are recorded in Library Search. Advanced Search gives you more search options.

However, there are some collections that are not yet fully catalogued. For advice on material not covered by the online catalogue, or for any other enquiries relating to the printed book collections, please contact us

Archives and Manuscripts

Most archives are listed on Elgar, the Electronic Gateway to Archives at the Rylands. However, some archives and most manuscript collections are still recorded in manual catalogues, at varying degrees of detail. For more information and advice, please contact us.

Visual Collections

Many of our visual collections are as yet uncatalogued. Visual material within our printed collections is recorded in Library Search, while most of our archives are catalogued on Elgar.

Our Image Collection contains digital surrogates of many individual visual resources.

Manchester Digital Collections is a new resource for exploring high-quality images of cultural collections and research projects at The University of Manchester

For advice on material not covered by the online catalogues, or for any other enquiries relating to the visual collections, please contact us.