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 all researchers interested in its collections, subject to the regulations outlined below. Procedures derive from these basic concerns as well as industry best practices: quality of service to researchers, security and preservation of the materials, courtesy to other researchers, and compliance with university and library regulations.

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.

  • All users must register annually and provide a current positive identification (with photograph).
  • Donor-imposed restrictions and processing status may limit access to collections, the availability of reproductions, or permission to publish. Researchers agree to abide by any and all restrictions, as communicated by staff when materials are requested for use.
  • No briefcases, book bags, backpacks, tote bags, sacks, purses, camera bags, computer carrying cases, or other enclosed container may be brought into the department's Reading Room. Token-operated storage lockers are provided for researchers' convenience.
  • Researchers may bring into the Reading Room only loose sheets of note paper or notebooks (upon inspection), note cards, laptop computers (upon inspection), cameras, tablets, cell phones, and flatbed scanners. Hand-held scanners may not be used in the department.
  • Eating and drinking are not permitted in the department.
  • 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. Many materials are stored off site; advance notice is required for retrieval.
  • 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 and follow any handling procedures outlined by staff.
  • The use of pens is prohibited; pencils may be obtained from the staff.
  • Researchers are not permitted to photocopy materials. Ask staff to explain photocopy request procedures.
  • Researchers may take photographs of materials using their own camera, subject to donor restrictions.
  • Special Collections requests a copy of the book or article should your research here result in a publication. If a copy is unavailable, please provide us with a bibliographical citation.
  • Some materials may include sensitive or confidential information protected under federal and/or state privacy laws and regulations. Researchers who find sensitive personal information, including but not limited to social security numbers and student records, in any collection should notify a staff member.
  • Notice concerning copyright restrictions: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified by law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order, if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

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.

University of Arkansas Libraries
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