skip to content

Access online and zero-contact services across our libraries. Limited in-person services are available at the UL and in some Faculty and Department libraries. Visit Using the Library for information on services and support to help you study, teach and research.

Cambridge University Library

 

Many of our collections can be found on our online catalogue on our ArchiveSearch database. ArchiveSearch holds our main catalogue and also has catalogues for University Archives and the Royal Greenwich Observatory Archives. 

ArchiveSearch is not searchable through other University Library catalogues, and thus materials on ArchiveSearch will not appear on iDiscover.

Cambridge University theses can be searched for on iDiscover. This catalogue includes post 1970 theses. Information on previous ones is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room (visit our Theses, dissertations and prize essays page for further information).

Not all Manuscripts holdings can be located on ArchiveSearch. The majority of our medieval manuscripts, for example, are catalogued in the five volumes of the Catalogue of the Manuscripts preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge. This can be found online as follows:  

Vol.1   Vol.2   Vol.3   Vol.4   Vol.5   Index

Other material is catalogued on external websites such as The National Archives catalogue Discovery and ArchivesHub, while others are only available in paper catalogues and the card catalogue found in the Manuscripts Reading Room. If you’re searching for material you believe may be held in Manuscripts but can’t locate on ArchiveSearch, please try these other resources – and when in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact us.

We’re working as quickly as we can to catalogue all our post medieval material onto ArchiveSearch.

The following information may help you in searching our collections:

Arrangement

The Western manuscripts can be broadly divided into four classes:

Two-letter class
The original holdings of the Library’s manuscript department. Mainly, but not wholly, made up of medieval and early modern manuscripts. 
Additional class
Items deposited or acquired from the mid-nineteenth century onwards and mostly containing material dating from then until the modern day, though also containing items dating from medieval times onwards. 
Named collections
Usually larger collections related to an individual, family or institution, mostly dating from the Victorian period and later.
Doc class
Originally for documents such as title deeds, manorial court records, and accounting papers, but now includes a much wider range of material.

Information on the Library’s Asian & Near and Middle and Eastern collections can be found here.

We also have a set of subject guides offering overviews of our material and a listing of some of our most significant archival collections with links to more detailed information.