About MASC25

Welcome to MASC25

MASC25 is an online resource guide to printed special collections in libraries within the M25 Consortium. The universities in the Greater London region are rich in special collections, some of which are well known, and others less so, but all have the potential to inform future research. MASC25, based at UCL (University College London) Library Services, makes a significant contribution to unlocking this intellectual heritage by bringing together descriptions of collections consisting wholly or in part of printed material. The result is a database broad in scope, which complements other resource mapping initiatives, such as AIM25 for archives.

What can I expect to find in MASC25?

MASC25 aims to describe "any collection of printed works that is considered to contain material of a rare or unique nature, or has been developed as a special resource in terms of depth or subject coverage", located in the defined geographical area. In practice, the emphasis is on printed forms of verbal text, such as books, journals, pamphlets and other ephemeral publications. Discrete collections of pictorial texts, such as photographs and engravings are not covered, but reference may be made to these materials in descriptions of mixed collections. In the case of special collections containing both printed and manuscript material, MASC25 provides a description of the printed elements, and a reference to a complementary description of the manuscript material where appropriate, most commonly via a link to the holding institution's web pages, to AIM25, or the Archives Hub.

At its launch on 1 December 2004, MASC25 contains up-to-date collection-level descriptions from all libraries in the Univeristy of London with eligible material, and from a number of other universities in the M25 Consortium. Select the "Browse by Institution" option for a complete list of libraries participating in MASC25. Some further data will be added before the end of December 2004.

What information do the MASC25 descriptions provide?

The MASC25 descriptions are based on the RSLP Collection Description tool, and comprise a free-text (and fully searchable) summary of the collection contents, supported by additional information about its size and the publication date range, links to other related resources and suggestions for further reading, as appropriate. Each record also details the physical location of the collection, and provides a live link the holding institution's website providing information on how to gain access.

It is important to note that MASC25 does not contain any individual catalogue records, i.e. you cannot search for single items by author and title as you would in a library catalogue. However, details of where to find a catalogue of the collection are provided, and in many cases a live link to an online listing is available. Descriptions at collection level offer a useful overview of the profile of a collection, especially when, as in MASC25, they are supported by subject access points. Select the "Browse by Subject" option to view an alphabetical list of all the Library of Congress Subject Headings used in the database.

* Remember that MASC25 is a guide to printed special collections, and in order to find all the material in M25 libraries relevant to a particular topic you will need to use it in conjunction with other search tools.

Maintaining MASC25

In order to ensure the currency of the database, MASC25 is keen to hear from the M25 Consortium libraries participating in Phases 1 and 2 about changes to the existing collection descriptions, and to add information about newly acquired material. Please download this form explaining the structure and content of MASC25 records, which you can fill in and return to the MASC25 Maintenance Team at

Please note that under the present maintenance arrangements it is only be possible to amend or add information from the M25 Consortium libraries surveyed before December 2004. Plans are in hand to expand the service to include other libraries in the region in due course, and further information about the projected Phase 3 will be available shortly.