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Research organization and citation tools for ANTH303: Find Special Collections

Organizing Archival Research

Tropy is desktop software designed to help researchers organize and describe research images, from original photographs to digitized special collections and documents. Tropy allows you to attach information to images, transcribe or take notes on them, and categorize them using lists and tags.

Find Special Collections

Admittedly, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start for any part of your research -- but especially when you want or need to find special collections (or anything especially unique, rare, or a primary source). 

First, you can always ask a librarian. Second, Quicksearch is always a good place to start, no matter what you ned.

See the resources below for more information and direct links to sources to find primary sources and special collections at Yale, including Quicksearch, Digital Collections, LUX, and Archives at Yale.


There are two ways to start surfacing primary sources and special collections through Quicksearch.

  1. If you're interested in seeing material from specific special collections, such as the Beinecke Library, go to Quicksearch Books, and add a Location filter. See this sample search for "James Baldwin" in "Books" available at "Beinecke Library. Learn more about doing research at the Beinecke:
  2. Conduct a keyword search in Quicksearch and apply the format filter for "Archives and Manuscripts." See this sample search. This filter surfaces material from Archives at Yale (see box below for more information).

Digital Collections

Yale Library’s Digital Collections - a subset of special collection material as a whole - provides online access to millions of works, images, and audiovisual materials. It is not comprehensive, but can be a great way to get a sense of what is available and how it appears.

When accessing Digital Collections directly, keep in mind that our image and text-based digital collections are currently represented online primarily in two systems, Digital Collections and FindIt. If you need audiovisual material, select the option for Aviary. In time, all collections will be made available in the Digital Collections system.


LUX is a brand new search launched in 2023 that combines the library's material with other special collections at Yale. Using LUX, researchers can find and connect with the cultural heritage collections across Yale's museums, archives, and libraries in new ways and all in one place.

If you aren't sure if the material you need is at the library or somewhere else, try a few keyword searches in LUX!

Archives at Yale

Archives at Yale brings together finding aids from ten archival repositories. Seven of the repositories are part of Yale Library, two are at the Yale Center for British Art, and one is at the Yale Peabody Museum.

Finding aids describe the creation, content, context, and arrangement of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.