Research Tools

About a specific topic

The Collections pages within this site may help you identify the best resources held in Special Collections and Archives for your topic.

Books, pamphlets, and periodicals

All books, pamphlets, and periodicals in Special Collections and Archives are cataloged in Library Search. You can scope your search to holdings in Special Collections and Archives.

Manuscript and archival collections

Manuscript and archival collections at UCI include the personal papers of individuals or families, the administrative records of offices at UCI, and the records of private organizations. Within a collection you might find correspondence, minutes, reports, photographs, drawings, newspaper clippings, ephemera, collected printed materials, and a variety of other formats.

Once archival collections are made available for public use, summary descriptions of them are available in Library Search and more detailed descriptions (called finding aids) are available in the Online Archive of California.

In Library Search, you can conduct an advanced keyword search to limit the material type to "archival" materials and limit your search to Special Collections and Archives. Some archival collections have not yet been organized, but we may still allow you to use them. Please contact us for more information.

Digital Special Collections

A small selection of our materials has been digitized and made available online in Calisphere, Online Archive of California, and UCIspace @ the Libraries.

Primary sources tutorial

Primary sources are documents, images, or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence of an historical topic. The Libraries' Primary Sources Tutorial can help you determine what primary sources are and where to find them.

Subject guides on primary sources

While Special Collections and Archives holds many primary sources, you may also find primary sources elsewhere within the Libraries or available online. Subject guides specific to a discipline may help you locate relevant primary sources:

You can find more information about manuscript and archival holdings at other institutions in a variety of resources:

In California:

  • Melvyl
    Summary descriptions of manuscript and archival holdings within the University of California system.

  • Online Archive of California
    Detailed descriptions of selected archival and manuscript collections at repositories in California. Also includes selected digital images and texts, as noted earlier.
  • Repositories of Primary Sources in California
    Links to repositories in California that hold archival and manuscript collections.

Throughout the United States:

  • ArchiveGrid (restricted to UCI)
    Thousands of libraries, museums, and archives have contributed nearly a million summary and detailed descriptions of their collections to ArchiveGrid.

  • OCLC Worldcat (restricted to UCI)
    Libraries and archives throughout the world have contributed summary descriptions of their archival and manuscript holdings, as well as of their rare books, pamphlets, serials, and ephemera, to this union catalog.
  • Repositories of Primary Sources
    List of over 5,000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources.
  • Directory of Corporate Archives in the U.S. and Canada
    Basic information about over 350 corporate archives in the United States and Canada.
  • NARA Archival Research Catalog
    Online catalog of the National Archives and Records Administration's nationwide holdings in the Washington, D.C. area, regional archives, and the Presidential libraries.