- How do I navigate the site?
- How do I search for materials?
- What should I know about phrasing my searches?
- How can I filter my search results?
- How do I request materials?
- How do I request materials that are by appointment only or offsite?
- How is the Modern Manuscripts & Archives search different from the Newberry Online Catalog, Primo VE?
- How are language choices for archival description made? What should I do if I encounter language in finding aids that I find harmful, offensive, outdated, or inaccurate?
- Who do I contact for additional help?
How do I search for materials?
Begin a basic search by entering your search terms in the search bar. You may limit the search by searchable fields, record type, and date.
- The searchable fields are:
- Keyword: Searches the entire text of a finding aid.
- Title: Searches titles of the materials described, including collection records, series, and files within collections.
- Creator: Primarily searches for names of the persons, families, and organizations who created a collection. Please note that when limiting by “Creator” the search results will not include creators of individual records or items within collections. For example, Jack Kerouac’s excerpt of “On the Road,” which can be found in the Malcom Cowley papers (Midwest MS Cowley), will not come up in a creator search for “Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969” because the “creator” of the Malcom Cowley collection is “Cowley, Malcolm, 1898-1989”.
- Subject: Searches by subject headings assigned to materials by archivists and librarians, for example, "Chicago (Ill.) -- History".
- Notes: Searches the text of notes of a finding aid.
- Identifier: Searches by identifier, also known as the call number, which is unique to each collection.
- It is recommended that you leave the default “Search all record types.” Using the “Limit to collections” option will only show results from a collection level description, rather than names, subjects, series, and files.
- The “Limit to digital materials” is not an active feature at this time.
- You may select a date span to limit the search results chronologically. Searching by date is approximate, and results may fall outside the date span you enter. For example, if you search for records between 1900 and 1950, your results will likely show collections and series with broader date ranges, such as a result with a date span of 1800-1970 since that date range includes the years 1900-1950.
- You may conduct an advanced search by selecting the + icon and adding additional search parameters.
What should I know about phrasing my searches?
- Searches are not case sensitive.
- You may search for phrases by including quotation marks (for example “Dill Pickle”).
- You may use OR, AND, and NOT in your search (for example Hecht OR MacAdams; art NOT British).
- You may add a tilde (~) to search for search terms within a specified number of words of one another (for example “dance Chicago”~5 will return results where the term dance occurs within 5 words of the term Chicago).
- “Wildcard” symbols ? and * help return a greater number of relevant results by searching for variant spellings and forms of search terms simultaneously.
- ? replaces a single letter in a search term (for example searching wom?n will return both women and woman).
- * replaces any number of letters at the end of a search term (for example searching travel* will return traveling, traveler, travels, etc.).
How can I filter my search results?
- Once you have conducted a search and are on the search results page, you can use the filter pane on the left side of the page to further limit and customize search results.
- You may use the search bar at the top of the filter pane to create additional searches within the search results.
- You may also use the filter pane to filter by record type, subject, language, and name.
How do I request materials?
To request materials from a collection to use on-site, select the request button at the top, right side of the page of the material you would like to use.
After you click on the request button:
- You will be asked to log into your Newberry reader's account. If you do not yet have an account, use the "Create an Account" link to create one.
- The request will be added to your account with the status of "Awaiting User Review".
- Return to the finding aid through the "Make Requests" menu at the top of the page to place additional requests.
Materials are only retrieved once you are seated in our Special Collections reading room. Materials are paged at the box level.
For information on registering for a reader's account and getting a free reader’s card, please visit Getting a Reader’s Card.
How do I request materials that are by appointment only or offsite?
Some collections are available by appointment only, as indicated in the finding aid. Please contact Newberry Reference at least 5 business days in advance to request an appointment. To request materials stored offsite, please contact Newberry Reference for further information.
How is the Modern Manuscripts & Archives search different from the Newberry Online Catalog, Primo VE?
The Newberry Online Catalog includes collection level descriptions for most the Newberry’s archival collections, but not all. Because the catalog record typically includes only collection level information, the Modern Manuscripts & Archives search is a more robust tool to access and search full finding aids.
How are language choices for archival description made? What should I do if I encounter language in finding aids that I find harmful, offensive, outdated, or inaccurate?
Newberry Library staff create the finding aids you see in the Modern Manuscripts & Archives search. We aim to create archival description that is inclusive, respectful, and does not cause harm to those who interact with our collections. Please read our Statement on Potentially Offensive Materials and Descriptions and our policy on Access to Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials.
If you would like to bring something to our attention, please contact Newberry Reference.
Who do I contact for additional help?
If you have any additional questions or would like assistance from a reference librarian, please visit our Ask a Librarian page.