What if my material isn't described online?
To set up a visit to view special collections material at NYPL, you will follow links from collection guides, catalog records, or, in certain cases, from online request forms. You will find Collection Request Form links in both catalog.nypl.org and archives.nypl.org. See below for guidance on the requesting process, which will collect the details necessary to process your request, including the date and time of an appointment, if required.
Please note that appointments and requests are not transferrable: you cannot view materials from one reading room in another reading room or Research Center.
If you would like more information on searching the catalog and archives.nypl.org to locate relevant archival material for your research project, see this guide.
Online descriptions, called collection guides, for the Library's archival collections can be found at archives.nypl.org.
The Collection Request Form can be found within each collection guide. Look for the summary box at the top of each guide, and click the link next to "Access to materials."
You will first be prompted to log in to your Special Collections Account, then directed to the Collection Request Form. In some cases, the link will lead to a blank form, with instructions for completion.
If the collection guide does not include a link to the Collection Request Form, contact staff to discuss your request by clicking the "Contact the Division" button at the top of the collection guide.
At the top of the Collection Request Form is an overview section, which provides general information about the collection as a whole.
Below the overview section, you will see the Contents List, which has the collection's containers listed with checkboxes next to them. Select the checkbox next to any item to request it for in-person review.
All items are expanded by default. You can click on the dash next to any item to collapse its description. There are also options to Expand All/Collapse All at the top of the contents list to help facilitate your requesting.
If you do not see any checkboxes displayed in the request form, please do not use the form and instead contact Research staff to make your request.
Note that the options for selecting an appointment are at the bottom of this form, and you will do this after you have made your selections.
Once you have checked off the boxes for the material you wish to see:
In some cases, you will click on the request link and see a customized blank form for a specific division (for example, the Berg Collection). In this case, please fill out the fields in the form to the best of your knowledge, and you will work with staff to confirm the materials you want to see on your research visit. Once you fill out the fields in the form, you will follow the same instructions for choosing an appointment:
You can select as many items in the Collection Request Form as you would like. However, there is a limit to how much material can be prepared in advance for an appointment. The Collection Request Form will submit up to 5 requests to staff, and any additional requests will be added to your Saved for Later list for future requesting. You can work with staff to determine priorities for your appointment.
You can submit one Collection Request Form for each appointment. If you need to submit requests for another appointment, return to the collection guide and fill out a second Collection Request Form, selecting a new appointment for the Appointment Date field.
In the Research Catalog, special collections material is indicated by a "Request Appointment" button. This button is visible in your list of search results, as well as within each catalog record. Click this button to access the request form.
If the Library holds multiple copies of the same item, please request the copy without a "Request Appointment" button listed. You may also contact staff for guidance.
In the Legacy Catalog, the request form can be accessed via a link in the "Connect To" box near the top of the catalog record.
You will first be prompted to log in to your account, then directed to the request form.
Some form fields will be pre-populated with information from the catalog.
After completing the form fields, complete the additional fields at the bottom of the Collection Request Form:
After completing the form fields, you can either submit your request to staff, save your request for later submission (see below for more on this feature), or cancel and return to the main menu.
If you are not ready to submit your requests to staff, or if you would like to plan beyond the Reading Room's retrieval limit, you can use the Save for Later option to organize and prioritize your requests for future submission. When you finish filling out the request form, click on the Save Item for Later button:
This will add your item to a Saved for Later List. You can have an unlimited number of saved items, and you do not need choose an appointment date for saved items.
To view your saved items, select View Saved for Later List from your Special Collections Account home page, or from the My Research Items menu. From this view, you can:
If you cannot find a collection guide or a catalog record for materials you want to view, submit a request form with the information you have available.
You can find links to blank request forms in your Special Collections Account, by clicking My Appointments > Make an Appointment, then selecting the form for the relevant reading room. If you're not sure of your material's details or reading room, contact Research staff to discuss.