Manchester Metropolitan University Library Special Collections website...
This has an open and modern design which makes it look immediately accessible, although it's not clear if the gallery is open to the public or just to university students and staff. The website highlights items in the collection with and links to the ditial image database, but does not seem to offer an online database.
These webpages on the university website promotes public exhibitions and provides information about research with the special collections. It provides a link to the online database which includes an image gallery and 'showcase' as a means of introducing the collections. Though its exhibition and catalogue are public access, the target audience would appear to be primarily academic. However, it also a highlights section under construction, which includes a tour providing an attractive visual introduction to one of the collections.
Liverpool University Library - Special Collections...
Aimed primarily at university students/academics the online database offers little in the way of browsability or guidance for non-academic users. However, there is an exhbitions gallery (text heavy introductions to past exhibitions) and a highlights gallery.
This museum presents itself for public use as well as academic use, with 'Research' and 'Explore' options in the main menu. The Explore option leads to a number of differnt ways of 'wandering around' the musuem collections online, including a virtual tour, introductory guides, and a number of virtual collection microsites and multimedia resources. It also gives access to the online databases which takes you back to the Research section. The education section is primarily aimed at inviting visits from different groups - eg schools and adult learners.
Leeds University Library has some of the UK's outstanding collections of rare books and manuscripts housed in its Special Collections.
This is a visually attractive website, or rather section of the library website, with an accessible feel to it. Its highlights are prominent and include 'Treasures tours', famous people from Leeds, sand 'subject strengths' which is essentially a guide to the collections. It has also got a blog and a special feature connecting a current event with one of the collections. Its visitor information section 'essentials' is also very visible. While Speical Collections do not offer services for shcools or the wider community etc, there is a link to the university gallery which does.
Information about the University of Reading's special collections of archives and rare books...
This website looks clean and clear. It has an online database (though some collections are not yet fully catalogued on it), featured items and exhibitions. It offers public access, although the main target user seems to be academic/specialist.