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Guide to Digital Research in Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books: Catalog

How to conduct manuscripts, archives, and rare books research using the online resources of The New York Public Library

The holdings of the Library's Rare Book Division and George Arents Collection can be browsed and searched using the online catalog.  The catalog is also where to locate published primary sources and secondary scholarship.

Searching the Catalog

If you have an exact citation, you can search the catalog by title or author.  If you are looking for a journal, newspaper, or magazine, use the "By Journal Title" option.  To browse more generally, you can also search by keyword.
 
The Advanced Search allows for more complex searching by combining fields or using additional filters.  Use the Date filter to limit to a particular time period if you are seeking only primary sources.  Or, use the Location filter for searching a particular research division.  In general, it is not recommended to use the Location filter to find archival collections or rare books, since this material is held by multiple divisions across the Library.
 
When reviewing a list of search results, you can access the Advanced Search options to refine your search by clicking the 'Modify Search' button.

Digitized Material

When searching the catalog, you can limit your results to digitized items (e.g., ebooks) using the Material Type filter.  The digital material types are: E-Book, E-Audiobook, E-Video, and Web Resource.

Modify Search screen

Often, these catalog records are links to documents within databases to which the Library subscribes, rather than books that the Library owns and has digitized.  You may need to log in with your NYPL library card's barcode and PIN to view these files.  Additionally, some databases require you to be using a Library computer or Library wifi for access.  This information should be communicated within each record.  For more on the Library's subscription databases, see the Databases tab.

If the book you are seeking was published prior to 1923, it is in the public domain (meaning it has no copyright restrictions by U.S. law) and may be available through an external website.  Three good resources for such items are:

Bay Psalm Book

Bay Psalm Book