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A great example of one of the ways libraries can tackle hidden collections: getting old (antiquated but accurate) handlists online quickly via PDF etc.

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

We have recently digitised many of the ‘legacy’ catalogues of our manuscript collections, and these are now available as searchable PDFs through Manchester eScholar, the University of Manchester’s Institutional Repository. Links to eScholar are provided below.

Many of the catalogues were published in the early decades of the twentieth century, and they reflect the scholarship and attitudes of the period. Eventually we hope to update many of the catalogues in accordance with modern metadata standards and scholarship, but for now we hope that the PDFs will suffice.

Thanks to Ben Green, Phil Butler and their teams in Digital Technologies and Services for facilitating this initiative.

John Hodgson


Margoliouth, D.S., Catalogue of the Arabic Papyri in the John Rylands Library Manchester (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1933).

  • pp. 1-49. eScholarID:3o989
  • pp. 50-143. eScholarID:3o995
  • pp. 144-241. eScholarID:3o996
  • Plates 1-42. eScholarID:3o997

Mingana, A., Catalogue of the Arabic Manuscripts in the John Rylands…

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