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New York University Archives: Locating Relevant Material

This guide will acquaint you with the resources available at the New York University Archives; inform you how to conduct research using these resources.

Finding Aids

To find relevant material for your research, you may need to navigate University Archives finding aids.

How to locate finding aids on our search portal

How to read our finding aids

Quick Search

Search University Archives Finding Aids


While finding aids for many collections at the Archives have been published, not everything is available online. NYU Archives, like most special collections, holds unprocessed/un-cataloged collections as well as processed/cataloged collections that may be described in a paper finding aid, inventory, or other document available only by visiting the Archives in person. 

Please Note: There are no finding aids for yearbooks, course bulletins, promotional material, departmental or student publications. A University Archives staff member can help you access these. 

Locating Finding Aids

NYU Libraries' Special Collections portal lets you search for material in a variety of ways. 

The portal allows you to search for collection material not only within NYU's Special Collections, but at New-York Historical Society and Brooklyn Historical Society as well. If you do not select a "Library" on the left side of the portal screen, you may receive results that are not housed at NYU. 

From there you can narrow your search by facets such as Subject, Date Range and Level (Collection, Series or Object). You may then a search term in the field at the top. 

It is important to note that this site searches the text of the online finding aids, which describe the collection. It does not search text contained within the collection itself, because (in most cases) the material is not digitized.

You can also use the search function on the NYU Libraries homepage. Just limit your search to Archival Materials.

Reading Finding Aids

Understanding the parts of the finding aid will help you identify relevant collection material. The following are some of the important elements you will see.


Collection Title
Historical/Biographical Note
Scope and Content Note
Container Listing