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Conducting Research

Image of the IHLC reading roomThe collections of the IHLC are non-circulating and may only be consulted in the IHLC reading room (room 324 of the Main Library) during open hours. The IHLC is open to the public Monday-Friday, 9-5pm during the fall and spring semesters, and 1-5pm during semester breaks and the summer (please see the main library page for exceptions). No appointment is necessary, but you are encouraged to contact us at ihlc@library.illinois.edu in advance of your visit.

Collection materials are retrieved by the staff for researchers as requested.

Below you will find information about search tools and research guides that you can consult for help in identifying sources of interest. Contact us at ihlc@library.illinois.edu if you have any questions or would like additional assistance.

Search tools and databases

Manuscript Collections Database

Descriptions and titles of manuscript collections may be searched or browsed through the Manuscript Collections Database. Please note that not all collections are currently described or included but the database encompasses a substantial portion of the IHLC manuscript holdings.

Collection descriptions vary widely depending on the nature of the manuscript collection. Some are single items and have only a brief description. Others provide further information on the creator and the nature of the materials in the collection. The entry for some collections includes not only a summary of the collection but also a detailed inventory attached as a PDF file. This additional document will contain a list of the collection contents, by box, folder, or item depending on the collection. At this time, please note that the general descriptions and the detailed box and folder lists must be searched separately. See the main page of the Manuscript Collections Database for more information.

The database provides researchers with both browse and search options, as shown below:

Online Catalog

Books, periodicals, and other printed materials at the IHLC can be searched through the online catalog.

There are two options for searching the catalog: “VuFind” and “Classic.” If you would like to limit your search to materials only found in the IHLC, the process is different for each option:

“VuFind” only provides the option to limit to the IHLC on the results page. You can find it under “Location” on the right-hand side of the page, as shown below.

“Classic” provides options upfront for limiting your search to the IHLC.  From the quick search page, scroll through the “quick limit” dropdown to select “Illinois History and Lincoln Collections” and then submit your search. From the advanced search page, click the gray “More Limits” button at the far right of the dark blue bar (this is also included on Quick Search tab, as shown below). Then choose “Illinois History and Lincoln Collections” under “Location” and click “set limits” to return to your search.

Research guides

Civil War Regiments

PDF file iconGuide for Civil War Regiments in Manuscript Collections
This guide lists manuscript collections found to contain documents relating to specific Civil War regiments. Coverage is strongest for Illinois Cavalry and Infantry units, but regiments from other states are represented as well. After identifying a regiment or collection of interest, search or browse for the title in the Manuscript Collection database to find more information about the collection.