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Doing Research

Getting Started

The facilities of Special Collections are open to the public. University of Arkansas faculty and students as well as scholars, journalists, and other investigators from throughout the United States and other countries have conducted research in the collections. The results of their work have appeared in theses and dissertations, newspaper articles, scholarly and popular journals and books, exhibits, and television and film productions.

We invite you to prepare for your visit by consulting the subject guides, policies and procedures, and manuscript finding aids available here. You may also wish to contact Special Collections in advance of your visit.

Topic and Collection Guides

Policies and Procedures

Service Policies

Special Collections is open to students, faculty, and staff of the University, to researchers from other colleges and universities, and to the general public. The department can provide limited assistance by mail and e-mail. However, we do not have adequate staff to conduct research for patrons.

Note: Publication of any material found in the manuscript collections of the University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections is permitted only after a completed "Permission to Publish Request" is approved and signed by the Head of the Department. See "Forms for Requesting from Special Collections" for more information.

Reading Room Procedures

Special Collections is open to all researchers interested in its collections, subject to the regulations outlined below. Procedures derive from these basic concerns: quality of service to researchers, security and preservation of the materials, courtesy to other researchers, and compliance with university and library regulations.

  • Prospective users of manuscript collections or university archives must complete a registration form and furnish positive identification (with a photograph).
  • Restricted and unprocessed materials may be consulted only with the permission of the head of Special Collections.
  • No brief cases, book bags, backpacks, tote bags, sacks, purses, camera bags, computer carrying cases, notebooks, or other enclosed container may be brought into the department's Reading Room. Token-operated storage lockers are provided for researchers' convenience, and are located at the entrance to the department. Ask at the first desk in the Reading Room for a token to operate a locker. All hats, coats, umbrellas, or other items which will not fit in a locker must be deposited in space designated by the Reading Room staff.
  • Eating and drinking are not permitted in the department.
  • Using Manuscripts and Other Special Collections Material Researchers may bring into the Reading Room only loose sheets of note paper, note cards, laptop computers, cameras, flatbed scanners, or cassette recorders. Hand-held scanners may not be used in the department. Items may be taken to study tables ONLY after they have been inspected by Reading Room staff.
  • Special Collections materials are housed in closed stacks and may be used only in the department's Reading Room. Researchers complete call slips to request materials, which are retrieved by the staff.
  • Research materials will not be retrieved within 30 minutes of closing. All materials must be returned 15 minutes before closing. Upon request, materials may be held on reserve in this department.
  • Please handle all research materials very carefully:
    • The use of pens is prohibited; pencils may be obtained from the staff.
    • Remove only one folder of manuscripts from a box at a time.
    • Do not remove manuscript material from its position within the file folder. Maintain the order and arrangement of unbound materials.
    • Do not write on paper laid over research materials; this includes tracing maps or other outlines.
    • Leave materials flat on Reading Room tables during use.
    • Do not lay books or other heavy objects on research materials.
    • Do not add or erase marks on materials.
    • Do not open uncut leaves or pages of books.
    • Mark a place in books or folders with clean paper sheets or strips.
    • Never place an open book face down.
  • Researchers are not permitted to photocopy materials. Ask staff to explain photocopy request procedures.
    • Completed photocopies are kept at the Reading Room desk until researchers are ready to leave the department.
    • Users may request copies of photographs on paper or as scanned images. Previously used computer diskettes or CDs brought in by researchers may not be used in the department's equipment except for the public InfoLinks terminal in the Reading Room.
    • Researchers are responsible for compliance with laws governing copyright. Neither the granting of access to materials nor duplication of materials conveys or implies conveyance of the right to publish such materials. Please consult the department's Citations Guide for more information.
  • When researchers have finished their work, staff must again inspect note paper or special equipment used at the study tables.

Users who do not follow Reading Room policies and procedures may be denied access to the department's collections.

Citing Materials

View our Citations Guide for examples of citations to our collections.

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Last updated: February 11, 2014