New edition: Guide to the Manuscripts in the UCT Libraries
About the Guide
The Guide to the Manuscripts in the UCT Libraries provides a synoptic collection-level overview of the manuscript and archival holdings of UCT Libraries’ Special Collections. It provides an efficient first-line resource to assist researchers in identifying the existence of unpublished sources of potential relevance, before consulting the detailed finding aids of specific collections.
Image: The Zonnebloem College admission register with entries recording admission of children of chiefs from all over southern Africa, as well as the prominent Cressy family.
The Guide to the Manuscripts with its database-type entries owes its origins to the online National Register of Manuscripts, to which UCT Libraries was an early contributor following its founding in 1978. The text version has subsequently been maintained and updated in-house as a publication. The last edition was published in 2016.
Search using the Guide
The Guide contains a brief summary of each archival collection in the sequence of its accession as the holdings have grown, as well as a detailed index at the end. It describes the substantive archival collections, single items that do not form part of collections, archival holdings in microform, manuscripts of South African composers and a large UCT-related collection. Using the find function, researchers can search for any name or subject, and quickly trawl through all the occurrences, noting collections of interest. Hyperlinks within the updated guide speed up navigation.
Image: Extract of Zonnebloem Papers from the Guide to the Manuscripts.
Locate on AtoM
Users can then go to the database of finding aids, Access to Memory or AtoM@UCT, to explore the detailed finding aids of collections identified to locate references to specific material so that access can be requested in the Special Collections reading room in the Jagger Library.
The Guide indicates per collection whether it is kept on-site and can therefore be made available immediately, or off-site, requiring advance notice to access. AtoM@UCT also provides a more intensive search functionality, enabling searching across all collections, as well as within a specific collection.
Where detailed finding aids are not yet accessible online, they can be emailed on request or be consulted in hardcopy in the Special Collections reading room. A copy of the Guide itself is also available in print form.
Image: A snapshot of part of the detailed finding aid on AtoM@UCT
Author Clive Kirkwood (Archivist, Special Collections, UCT Libraries)
Image source Zonnebloem Papers, UCT Special Collections