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Special Collections & Archives Guide

Learn how to access, use and experiment with primary resources in the learning laboratory!

How Find Things in Our Collections

Browse or keyword search our database of Collection Guides
  • Collections Guides, also known as Finding Aids, provide detailed lists and descriptions of our archives collections:
  • Collections are named after the main subject of the collection and/or the person or organization that donated them
  • You can search for keywords within a single collection, or across multiple collections. For example, a key word search for "Civil Rights" will bring up over 15 collections related to the Civil Rights Movement.

Finding Aids include information about a collection's "box lists' and "folder numbers." This is because archives are stored safely and securely in folders and archival boxes. When you find an item you are interested in, write down the:

  • Collection Name
  • Box number
  • Folder number

This information will help our archivists find exactly what you need! 

The following video created by UWM Libraries will help you understand how to understand and use Finding Aids. 

Browse or KeyWord Search our Digitized Collections Online! 
  • ODU Digital Collections:

    • While digitizing collections is expensive and time-consuming, we have made several of our collections freely available online:

    • Our digital collections focus on military history, women's history, School Desegregation, Massive Resistance, and Civil Rights, LGBTQ+ history, and ODU history.

    • You can also watch historic news film and listen to oral histories by members of the ODU and local community. 

  • ODU Digital Commons
Find Rare Books
  • Use Monarch OneSearch to discover rare and unique books in ODU's Special Collections. Browse our holdings by selecting "Special Collections" under the location tab on the left.  
  • We specialize in rare books and newspapers about Hampton Roads/Norfolk history, early American History, Literature and Poetry, Art, and Music. 
  • You can browse the Alyn F. Fife Maritime Collection to learn about our rare volumes on maritime history, logistics, and law. 
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