At a glance

Special Collections & University Archives

Guide to finding archives material

Many, but not all, of the University Archives' holdings are listed in SearchWorks. A combined search will allow you to find collections most quickly. Limit your search by selecting “Special Collections & Archives" as the location and “Manuscript/Archive.” as the format.



If you know the call number of the collection you wish to find, enter it into the searchbox field at the top of the search screen and select Call Number from the drop-down menu.


If you know the name of the creator or subject of a collection you wish to use, enter it into the search box and select Author.


If you don’t have a particular collection in mind, try a subject search. Subject headings are drawn primarily from the Library of Congress’s list of subject headings, but local subjects are used as well.

Using a catalog record

A catalog record for an archival collection includes:

  • The collection’s authorand title, which usually indicate the person or department who created it. (Examples: Donald Betrand Tresidder Papers; Stanford University, Dept. of English, records.)
  • The collection’s alphanumeric call number. (Example: SC0151).
  • A physical descriptionof the collection, which gives the extent of the collection as a number of boxes, items, and/or linear feet.
  • Biographical or historical notes, which provide information about the collection’s creator.
  • A summary, which indicates what types of material are found in the collection.
  • Subject headings, which indicate topics covered by the collection. (Example: "Stanford University—Administration.") Click on a subject heading to see other materials related to that topic.


For more detailed information about a collection (including box and folder contents lists, if available), consult the collection’s guide. The majority of University Archives guides are available online via the Online Archive of California. If an online guide is available, the catalog record will include a link to it. Guides that are not online are available in the Field Reading Room on the second floor of Green Library, Bing Wing.