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Access Services

We welcome Princeton University students, faculty, staff, and visiting researchers to explore the holdings of the Department of Special Collections. The information on this page will help you get started with your research. 

At this time, due to COVID, the Special Collections reading rooms are open on a walk-in basis for members of the Princeton University community who have access to campus buildings and to the general public on a very limited appointment basis.

We recommend that you begin your search by determining whether or not an in-person visit is necessary. We can work with you to help make this determination. The following information should help as you begin your research:

Discovery Tools

You can start your research through our various online discovery tools. We’ve highlighted the most commonly used tools here:

  • Use the Finding Aids Database to locate archival material. Use the Library Catalog to locate printed material and other special collections items. Many of our digitized materials can be found in these resources.

  • DPUL and PUDL are also both great ways to browse some of our digitized collections.

  • Looking for a senior thesis or dissertation?  It may already be digitized and available through DataSpace or ProQuest. If it’s not already digitized, you can place a request through the Senior Thesis Order Form.

Once you’ve discovered the materials that are relevant for your research, we offer several virtual access options.

Remote Services

Email Reference: You are always welcome to send us a message through our Ask Us! form. If you have a simple question or just require information verification, drop us a note and we can help you find the answer.

Digitization: You can place a digitization request for most materials in the collection via our Ask Us! form. Details about our digitization program can be found on our Digitization and Publication Services page. This is also where you will find our Copyright, Credit and Citation Guidelines.

Virtual Reference: You are welcome to request a virtual consultation with a staff member who can review collection materials with you over Zoom. Consultations are limited to 1 hour. This is a great way to get a sense of what’s in the collection or to help you narrow down a digitization request. You can request a virtual reference consultation by contacting us through the Ask Us! form. 

Onsite access information for currently active members of the Princeton University community with access to campus buildings. 

Onsite access information for independent researchers who are not currently active members of the Princeton community. (This includes alumni and affiliates.)