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Frequently Asked Questions about Special Collections


Special Collections is a department within the University of Delaware Library that collects, preserves and makes accessible rare and unique materials in art and literature, history and Delawareana, and the history of science and technology. (See Collection Focus for more information). The print collection consists of rare books, unique copies or editions, fine press books, periodicals, catalogs and artists' books. The Manuscript and Archival Collection contains primary source materials, which comprise the papers and records of individuals, families, businesses or organizations. The Manuscript and Archival Collection includes materials such as correspondence, diaries, maps, prints, photographs, ephemera, and realia.

To search for materials in the print collection please use the Library's online catalog.

The Manuscript and Archival Collections can be found by browsing an alphabetical list of finding aids or by searching finding aids from the Special Collections search box above.

Research Guides provide access to Special Collections resources organized by subject. They point to collections, ephemera, research strategies, and more. Additionally, Subject Guides and Selected Bibliographies are available on a variety of subject areas.

Please note that not all manuscript materials (or print for that matter) are processed or have online descriptions, so if you experience any difficulty during your search or have any questions please contact a Special Collections librarian to assist you with your research.

The Special Collections Department is open Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. Hours are adjusted around the University of Delaware academic calendar and University holidays, so please confirm the University of Delaware library hours before traveling to visit the library.

You do not need an appointment to visit Special Collections. When you visit Special Collections for the first time you will be asked to fill out a brief reader registration form. Every time you visit you will be asked to present a photo ID.

Special Collections is open to the general public; you do not need to be a University of Delaware affiliate to view materials.

Please see Special Collections Policies and Procedures and Visiting Special Collections for more details, including information about parking.

Special Collection materials do not circulate and must be used within our reading room; please allow yourself ample time to conduct your research

If you have any questions please contact a Special Collections librarian.

The Special Collections Department is located on the second floor of the Morris Library, 181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267 USA.

Please read Visiting Special Collections for more details, including information about parking.

In an effort to increase access to materials, the Special Collections Department and the Center for Digital Collections at the University of Delaware Library are working on scanning and digitization projects. Please visit the Digital Collections page.

Additionally, Special Collections curates exhibitions which highlight materials from the collection. The current and many of the past exhibitions from the Special Collections Gallery, as well as other exhibitions from other areas in the Library, can be viewed online.

At this time, a majority of the collection has not been digitized or made available electronically. Special Collection materials do not circulate. Please read about Visiting Special Collections. If you have any questions, please contact a Special Collections librarian.

Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library does not provide appraisal services. It is best to pursue this information provided by professionals who are aware of market values, collecting trends, and who can view the condition of the item(s) in person.

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of American as well as the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers provide membership lists to help identify local booksellers and appraisers near you.

For additional resources about book collection and preservation please visit, Book Collecting and Book Buying Guide, Book and Conservation Resources Guide and Preservation Information on the Web and Links to Service Providers.

The University of Delaware Library will permit a reasonable amount of photocopying from its print and manuscript holdings, but reserves the right to restrict copying from any of its collections and to deny requests for copies. Scans or digital photographs also require permission from a librarian. Special Collections is only able to accommodate scanning requests on a limited basis.

Not all materials may be reproduced. Reproductions of documents in the Special Collections are for personal research only. Copies may not be donated to other repositories by the recipient, and may not be further reproduced without explicit permission of the University of Delaware Library.

Under the provisions of the Copyright Act (Title 17, U.S. Code), which governs photocopies and other reproductions, the photocopy or reproduction may not be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a researcher makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that researcher may be liable for copyright infringement.

Applications to reproduce Special Collections materials must be submitted through the "Application to Reproduce Special Collections Materials" Online Webform or PDF.

For more information please see Reproducing and Photographing Special Collections Materials Policies and Procedures.

Permission to reproduce or to photograph materials does not imply permission to publish.

Permission to consult or reproduce manuscripts does not constitute authorization to publish them. Please submit requests for permission to publish in writing or via AskSpec to be approved by a Special Collections librarian.

When sending a request, please submit an outline of the project or interest that prompts the request, including the publication type, author, title, publisher, publication date, and print run (volume/issue number, if applicable). Explain the intended use of the image(s) and, if applicable, location within publication (interior or cover) and whether or not Internet use is being requested. Specify the image being requested including all bibliographic information (e.g. manuscript collection number, title, box, and folder).

Granting permission to publish does not transfer copyright, and permission is granted only to the extent of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections' ownership of the rights related to the request. Certain works requested which are physically owned by Special Collections may be protected by copyright, trademark, or related interests not owned by Special Collections.

The responsibility for determining whether any such intangible rights exist, for obtaining all necessary permissions, and for guarding against the infringement of those rights that may be held elsewhere, remains with the requester.

Please cite printed materials as:

Author last name, First name. Title. Location: Publisher, Date. Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

For example:

Sandison, George H. How to Behave and How to Amuse: A Handy Manual of Etiquette and Parlor Games. New York: Christian Herald, 1895. Special Collections, Univesity of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Please cite manuscript materials as:

MSS Number, Collection Title, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

For example:

MSS 163, Paul Bowles papers, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

There are two ways to request materials from the Annex.

Materials can be requested to be pulled from the Annex directly from Delcat, the library's catalog. When viewing a Full Record, click on "All Items" under "Holdings." Then click on the blue "Request" button. You will need your UDel ID in order to request materials.

Additionally, the Library Annex Request Form can be accessed from the main library.

Special Collections materials from the Annex will be delivered to Special Collections Department. You will receive a notice that the requested materials have arrived. Special Collections material do not circulate. Please read about Special Collections Policies and Procedures and on Visiting Special Collections for more details, including parking.

This page is maintained by Special Collections.
12/21/11

  • UD Library Special Collections  •   181 South College Avenue  •   Newark, DE 19717-5267  •   USA
    Phone: USA +1 302-831-2229  •   ©2014