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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 Digital Collections Web site?

Access the MSU Library Web site at and click on "Collections" at the top menu.


Choose "Digital Collections" at the far left of this dropdown menu.


From this screen, you can view various digital collections available for research use. These are organized by Archives & Special Collections divisions as well as our larger, more unique collections. You can also access this page directly at the following Web link:



How do I access specific collections?

From the main page of the Digital Collection, click Explore All Digital Special Collections.


This link will redirect you to a list of each of our digital repositories. Let's check out the Manuscripts Division's repository.


This will redirect you to a list of our digitized collections. Please note that not all collections are digitized in their entirety. These collections are listed alphabetically by the first word in the title. Let's explore the Ames and Hogan Family Papers.

From here, you can choose to view objects either using a list or a grid. You can also play a slideshow of the objects; however, only the first page of an object will be included. You can also view the finding aid of any collection (if available) by clicking on the Finding Aid link at the left of the page.


If you click on one of these objects, you will find a small thumbnail view of the object. To view it in its entirety, click on the blue download button. This will open the object in a PDF that you can also download and save to your files.


If you scroll down below the image, you will see information about the document such as its title, preferred citation, creator, date, location of original, original collection, and repository.


To learn more about the collection or view its finding aid, click on the blue finding aid button below the image.

How do I search for digital objects across Special Collections?

From the Digital Collections main page, locate the "Explore All Digital Special Collections" link.


A search bar will appear on the left side of the screen. You search using this tool. To utilize search limiters, click the advanced search button.


On this page, you will find the Advanced Search option. Make sure your search is limited to Archives and Special Collections materials.


You can also perform compound searches (i.e., searching multiple search terms at once) by clicking the green button to the right of the search bar. You can remove secondary search bars by clicking the gray button the the search bar's right.


Your search results will appear under the Advanced Search tool, so scroll down to see these items.


Also, you can further refine your search by keyword, publication year, publication title, publication type, and file type. Please note that publication in this context refers to digital collections.