Tips for searching for Special Collections materials in the online catalog

When searching for rare book items held in SC&A, you will achieve the best results by using the library catalog's Advanced Search page, rather than "Library One Search," which appears on the library's home page.

You can limit a search specifically to SC&A within the Advanced Search screen  Under "Location," select "Special Collections & Archives."  There are also options to limit to even more specific collections within SC&A, such as Artists' Books, the Middletown Collection, the Beales Collection, and several others.

Other limits available on the Advanced Search screen include Year (of publication, as a date range), Place of publication, Type (book, serial, music score, map, and so on), and Language.

The three search fields that appear on the Advanced Search screen are connected by Boolean operators.  The default is set as AND.  Note also that to the right of each search field is a drop-down choice between "as a phrase," "all of these," and "any of these."  The default is set to "as a phrase," but many searches are more suited to "all of these."  Choose whichever option you need.

Materials that are part of a specific collection can often be searched by the collection name, for example, the "Kallir Family Collection", or the "Nathan Comfort Starr Collection of Arthuriana." Simply type the phrase, including the quotation marks, as a keyword search.

Some of our collections that allow for such collection-name searching include:

Many rare book catalog records describe unique characteristics of the books, including provenance (bookplates, inscriptions, former owners), physical characteristics (vellum bindings, leather ties, Yapp edges), and so forth.  Many of these terms can be searched as keywords.

Please contact the staff of Special Collections & Archives with specific research inquiries, if you are having trouble finding what you are looking for, or have any other questions.  Some materials in SC&A are not yet fully cataloged or described, and the staff can help provide access to them.