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Archives and Special Collections: Requesting, handling and returning material


Loaded camels crossing the desert

Ask DULib

Contact us through our enhanced virtual enquiry desk, Ask DULib. Search our FAQs, email us, or chat with a librarian. 
Ask DULib is available to all students, staff and users.

Ask DULib, Library Help


Making Requests 

When you request an item for viewing please use its unique reference number. This will be found in the online catalogue. You should write this number on one of the request slips in the Search Room. It will take us about 10 minutes to produce your item. Material can be ordered in advance of your visit when making your appointment.


When you register on your first visit you will be given a copy of our guidance on handling our collections (see below). Preserving our collections is paramount, so please read these rules carefully and follow them at all times. Our staff will always provide guidance and gently step in to correct handling errors before any damage results, so please don’t worry. Occasionally a particularly fragile item may not be produced for consultation. Such items must be conserved and perhaps digitised before they again become accessible. 

Returning your Material 

Please tell a member of staff once you have finished with an item. If it is fragile staff will let you know and will come to your desk and retrieve it. Otherwise you should bring your item back to the invigilation desk yourself. If items are needed again within a week you may use a blue reserve slip and staff will then keep that item out ready for your next visit.