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Introduction to Archival Research at MSU Libraries

This guide has been designed to help researchers locate and access Archives & Special Collections materials at Mississippi State University Libraries.

How do I access the Archives & Special Collections Web page?

You may find the Archives & Special Collections Web page by navigating to the Library's home page at At the top of the page, you will find a menu ribbon. Click on "Collections."


Once this menu opens, click on "Special Collections" at the far left.


Once you have clicked this option, you will be routed to the Special Collections home page. This page can also be accessed by using the following Web address:


At this page, you will find general information about each of our divisions, our contact information, and links to other information such as our departmental polities, directory, news, and FAQs.

How do I search for collections from this page?

You can search any of our collections by clicking on the "Collections" link at the menu located on the left side of the page.


This link will take you to a page featuring our major departmental divisions and links to tools to search their physical and digital collections.


If you click on "Browse finding aids" for any division, you will be relocated to our collections management system, ArchivesSpace, where you can search within specific divisions and across the Archives & Special Collections for materials that fit your research needs. For more information on how to use ArchivesSpace, please see our How to Use ArchivesSpace tutorial.


If you click on "Explore digital collections," you will be redirected to our digitized materials associated with the given division. For more information on how to search our digital collections, please see our How to Search Our Digital Collections tutorial.


If you click on "Search the Online Catalog," you will be taken to the Library's catalog, which has already been limited to search within Special Collections materials only.

How do I request a reading room appointment and/or a research consultation?

To request a reading room appointment to view materials or a research consultation with one of our archivists, please click on the "Services for Researchers" link at the left side of the Special Collections homepage. This will take you to a menu of options that will allow you to fill out a request that meets your research needs. This includes requests for: permission to photograph our materials; workshop requests; reading room appointment requests; photocopy/scan requests; publication requests; and tour requests. If none of these options fit your needs, please do not hesitate to reach out to our department via email at In your email, include specific details relevant to your needs such as desired appointment date and time; research topic; and/or specific materials that you would like to view (e.g., collection name along with specific series or box numbers; call numbers; etc.).

How do I access other special areas?

The Web sites for each of these areas may also be found from the Library's homepage at Once again, click on the "Collections" link.


Once the menu opens, look under the "Other Unique Collections" section. These links will take you to the homepages of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Frank and Virginia Williams Collections of Lincolniana, and Mississippi Political Collections as well as other unique collections held by Mississippi State University Libraries.