How do I find specific research materials?

Search the Catalog

First, search the LSU Libraries' Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC).  The OPAC includes records for books, journals, manuscripts, microfilm, maps, and other materials found in Special Collections. Records for nearly all the books and other published materials in Special Collections can be found there, including an extensive collection of Louisiana newspapers on microfilm. The OPAC also includes records for about one quarter of our manuscript collections.

Books and Published Materials

The library’s book collections are searchable in the online catalog. You may wish to limit your search to a specific collection depending on the topic you are researching. You may also limit your search by language, publication year, and material type. For detailed guides to published materials in selected subject areas, see Tips for Finding Books.

Manuscripts and Unpublished Materials

If you're looking specifically for manuscripts and other unpublished materials, learn more about our holdings on the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) page. We have more than 5,000 manuscript collections. The document "Finding Manuscript Resources in the LLMVC," (also available in PDF) will orient you to our finding aids, manuscript subject guides, online catalog, and indexes available only in the library.

Official Records of LSU

If you're looking for the official records of LSU, check the University Archives inventories. For manuscript collections about LSU (but not the official records of the University) visit the LSU Subject Guide.

Oral History Materials

For oral history materials, search the OPAC and visit the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History web pages. You can listen to tapes and read transcripts in the Special Collections reading room.

U.S. Civil War Materials

If you're studying the U.S. Civil War, you can explore the Index of Civil War Information available on the Internet (maintained by Dick Weeks). For manuscript collections on this topic, use our Civil War Subject Guide.

How do I use the research materials?

Like all special collections libraries, we have very specific rules about how people can use our materials. We encourage researchers to use our materials, but we need to preserve them for future scholars to use as well. For this reason, we do not allow library patrons to take materials out of the building. Fortunately, we have a beautiful reading room in Hill Memorial Library where anyone can register to use our materials. We require that you present a photo identification card (e.g., your driver's license or student ID) when you register, so please be sure to bring one to the reading room.

Learn more about using Special Collections materials:

What else is there to see here?

Hill Memorial Library has two exhibition galleries that are open to the public free of charge, Monday through Friday 8 to 5 and some Saturdays 9 to 1. Check our current exhibits to see what's on. We also feature online exhibits on topics ranging from “Sugar at LSU” to “British Voices from South Asia.” In addition, you can see images of Special Collections materials in the Louisiana Digital Library.

We hope you find our collections useful to your research. Thank you for visiting and come again soon!