What is a Finding Aid?
Collections of unpublished personal papers, organizational records, and historical photographs are described and inventoried in detailed guides known as finding aids. A finding aid helps the researcher to identify boxes or folders of interest that may be retrieved from the stacks for study.
Prepared by the staff, the typical finding aid provides background information on the organization, person, or family who created the papers or photographs, an overview of the collection and its arrangement, and a detailed container list.
Not all of our finding aids are currently available online. If you don't see what you are looking for, please be sure to check with Reference Services for assistance.
Detailed listing of Special Collections Search Tools including online databases, digitized collections and bibliographies.
For information on finding specific items by format (books, periodicals, photographs, architectural records, maps etc.) consult the Special Collections How do I find...? guide.
Some of the collections are not listed in the online finding aids. Searching the Libraries online catalog provides another point of access into our collections.
Research using Special Collections material is different from more typical library research. The unique nature of the material dictates that there are stricter security procedures -- users need to register, manuscript materials need to be requested, personal belongings are placed in lockers, photocopying is limited, etc. The following tips can help you when using the material in Special Collections: