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Handling items in our collections

All our material is valuable and unique, and should be handled with care so we can keep it safe for future researchers to use.

Material in the Special Collections is reference only – it can only be used in our research centre. You can view one book or archive item/box at a time, but can request up to 10 per visit

How to handle our historic items

Please do:

  • Handle the material with clean hands (no hand lotions) and minimise handling where possible.
  • Use a pencil for note-taking – accidents with ink can cause permanent damage.
  • Keep loose documents in their original order and handle one at a time; please ask before you remove an item from its sequence for copying.
  • Use the foam book supports and weights.
  • Close books when you are not using them; we provide acid-free bookmarks.
  • tell us about any accidents or damage.

Please don’t:

  • Mark, annotate or deface the materials.
  • Lean on books or manuscripts or rest things on them.
  • Fold or bend back books or documents; ask the team for help if there’s text you can’t see.

Food and drink is not permitted in the Special Collections research centre. There are many refreshment areas on campus – the nearest is in the Parkinson Building.

Copying and personal photography

We offer digitisation services.

You can use your own digital camera to photograph material for personal study and private research, unless specific copying restrictions apply. If you are unsure, please ask a member of staff.

We ask that you sign a personal study declaration form first. Also please make sure the flash is switched off.

Access protections

Not all material listed in the catalogue is available to view. There are a number of access protections that may apply.

Publishing and reuse

Conditions apply if you want to publish or reuse material you have looked at in the Special Collections research centre.