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Conducting Research at IHLC

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, 9am-12pm and 1-5pm, during the regular semester 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.

Our Planning your visit page provides more information about in-person research visits.

Collection materials are retrieved by the staff for researchers as requested. The IHLC is currently using Aeon, a digital Special Collection Request System. Create or access your account here: Special Collections User Account, and please email us at ihlc@library.illinois.edu with any questions.

Below you will find information about search tools that you can consult for help in identifying sources of interest. Also check our Topical Research Guides for additional pointers on selected research topics. 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:

Website screenshot showing search and browse options

Online Catalog

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

Search the entire University Library Catalog if you want to search across all units of the library.

Search using the Special Collections Library Catalog if you want to search only IHLC materials, or across both IHLC and other special collections units. You can limit results to IHLC through the advanced search options as shown below:

Screenshot of the special collections catalog with the advanced search option circled

After opening the advanced search options, you can choose to limit to only titles with holdings in the IHLC as shown:

Screenshot of the advanced search options in the special collections catalog with the IHLC limiter circled