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Using the Lilly Library

A guide for students in ENG-L504 to using the archival collections of the Lilly Library

Archives Online

Most manuscripts and archival material can be found by searching Archives Online

Note that there are two versions of Archives Online. The link above is the most current version. It includes finding aids not available on the old version and a more user-friendly interface. However, the old version of Archives Online has a few advantages: 1) You can narrow your search to only the Lilly Library. 3) Collections that have been digitized include links to the digitized content. 3) You can request materials for use in the Reading Room with the "Request" button via the old version of Archives Online.

Some manuscripts have highly detailed finding aids online; others have minimal finding aids. There are a small number of collections with no finding aids at all online. Some collections also have more detailed paper finding aids or are indexed in more depth in physical card catalog drawers. We will talk more in class about how to find what you are looking for in a collection, and you will meet with the Class Librarian to help you find material for your projects. That being said, spending some time on your own exploring Archives Online and getting sense of what kinds of collections we have and what various forms finding aids can take will be a very fruitful way to spend your time.

Manuscript Materials in IUCAT

For various complicated reasons, some manuscript materials are cataloged in IUCAT, rather than in Archives Online. These are usually individual items or small collections and will be identified as "Manuscript" under format: EXAMPLE.

Requesting Archival Material

There are several ways to request archival material:

1) You can request archival material on your own by using the "Request" button in the old version of Archives Online. The Request button can be found in the upper left corner of each finding aid. Please note that you must create a separate request for each box you order. The Request button will take you to version of the finding aid with check boxes. Please do not check multiple boxes but create a separate request for each box that you want. The box is the preferred unit of request. In other words, if you request one item out of a box, we are going to bring the whole box anyway--just request the box. Remember to follow up your request with an appointment for the Reading Room via

2) I would like everyone in this class to become proficient in requesting materials for themselves. However, if you have difficulty with the request system, you can email a list of material you would like to request, and we will input it for you. So, for example, you might email us and let us know that you would like to see Ngugi mss, boxes 3, 9, and 14. But be mindful of how to best use librarian time: can you manage requests on your own and save your time with us for more important questions that only we can answer?