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Doing Research in Other Libraries & Archives  

Below are some tips for doing research at other libraries and archives not affiliated with the University of Chicago.
Last Updated: Oct 25, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Identifying Collections

Below are some databases to identify collections or works at other libraries and archives.

  • WorldCat  
    Locate books and other items at libraries around the globe. Click on “Libraries Worldwide That Own Item” for specific locations.
  • Archive Finder  
    Search finding aids for archive and manuscript collections in over 300 institutions in the United States.
  • ArchiveGrid  
    Includes collection descriptions from thousands of libraries, museums, and archives around the world.

Chicago Libraries & Archives


Planning a Visit to Another Library or Archive

Before Your Visit

Do you actually need to go?

Planning a Visit

Know before you go…

  • Do they have what you need?
  • What is the item’s location in the library?
  • Is it available or checked out?
  • What are their policies for using the library?
  • When is the “access” or “privileges” office open?
  • Any special summer hours, closings, etc.?
  • Can you access the internet on your laptop?

Things to Bring


  • UChicago ID card
  • Government-sponsored ID: Passport, Driver’s License, etc.

Proof of need (required by some institutions)

  • Letter from your advisor (on University letterhead)
  • Prepared statement about your research

Food for Thought

Things to consider before a visit

  • You will be unlikely to check out materials (with the exception of partner libraries)
  • Not every library includes all of their collections in their catalog
  • Many libraries do not allow wireless or computer access for visitors
  • Not every database to which a library subscribes will be available to visitors
  • When in doubt, don’t be afraid to use the reference (Ask a Librarian) services offered at the library or archive you plan to visit


UChicago librarians can help you...

Ask a Librarian

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