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Navigating NYU Archives

This guide will help you orient yourself with the tools, organization, and access policies of New York University Archives.

Online Resources

Online Resources in the Archival Search Portal

Filtering For Digital Objects

One of the facets in the archival search portal allows researchers to filter results by "Digital Content." This broad term includes not only materials that have been digitized but also born-digital materials such as emails, word processing files, PDFs, and websites. Please note that born-digital materials, except for websites, can only be acessed in the reading room, but digitized materials may be available via our finding aids. 

To view items that are available via our finding aids, click on the "Container List" on the left side of the page. You may also need to click on individual series to view items. There will be a link that says "click to view" if there are digital objects available. The object will open in a separate image viewer where you can zoom in and out on high-resolution images of each item.

Remember, each of these digitized items correspond to a physical object. Keep in mind questions like "What does the digital image capture?" "What does it leave out?" Digitization is great for expanding access to our collections, but there is a trade-off that you should consider when conducting research.

Web Archives

As part of our committment to the historical record, NYU Special Collections aims to collect material that documents the ways we share information with one another in all formats, including websites. You can access archived web pages via the finding aids for a particular collection or you can visit our Archive-It Page and use the filters and search bar to look for specific sites. You can filter for University Archives material only on both the archival search portal and the Archive-It Page.

Web archives are not just screenshots of websites; you can interact with the page as if it were an active website. You are viewing the site as it appeared on the day it was captured. That being said, some elements of the page may not have been fully captured, like media or links to external sites that we do not archive. 

Photographs Collections

Several photographs collections in the University Archives have been either partially or entirely digitized and are available for viewing online. They are the

Click on each of the links to the finding aid and then click on "container list" on the left side of the page to view the digitized photographs.  

Hathi Trust

Some (primarily 19th-century) University publications have been digitized by other institutions and are available via HathiTrust. A non-exhaustive list of these materials is below:

You can also search for University publications using the general search tool. Keep in mind that documents that are fully available online (not just searchable) are typically those in the public domain (i.e., those that have been published in or before 1927). 

Why Isn't Everything Available Online?

Great question! The University Archives collection is made up of millions of items in thousands of boxes in hundreds of collections. Digitization projects take a great deal of personnel, time, resources, and money to complete, and the end product requires a lot of resources to maintain. Archivists, curators, librarians, conservators, and other staff in NYU Libraries work together to make informed decisions about which items should be digitized. Factors like physical condition, level of use, subject matter, donor requests, and grant opportunities get taken into consideration during the decision making process. Even though all items aren't available online, we endeavor to provide access to materials in the reading room whenever possible. Please see our page on accessing material for more information.