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Introduction to Special Collections and Archives

Searching for Materials at LSU Special Collections

There are several ways to find special collection materials electronically: the library’s online catalog, research guides, subject guides, finding aids, and the Louisiana Digital Library.

Finding Aids

Finding aids (also called inventories) are detailed descriptions of a collection’s contents. They assist researchers in identifying and navigating relevant archival and manuscript collections. More than 700 are available and searchable online, but many still exist only in paper form and can be accessed in the reading room of Hill Memorial Library.  

After locating items of interest listed in a finding aid, visit the library catalog to search for and request these items.

Online Catalog

You can explore our entire collection via the LSU Libraries’ online catalog. To limit your search to materials within Special Collections choose "Special Collections" from the drop-down "Libraries" menu below the search box.

Subject and Research Guides

Subject guides highlight some of the topical strengths of the archives and manuscripts in LSU Special Collections. Each entry in the subject guide consists of a brief abstract describing the collection or item that relates to the selected topic. After locating materials of interest in a subject guide, visit the library catalog to search for and request the items. 

Research guides are prepared by library staff to help researchers learn more about collection holdings and cover broad topics such as rare books, Louisiana newspapers, and Louisiana history search tools. 

Contact LSU Special Collections

a small telephone icon  For informational questions, call the front desk at (225) 578-6544.

a small icon  For research assistance, call the reference desk at (225) 578-6568.

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