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Researching a Topic in 4 Easy Steps
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What do you need?    Books    Articles    Primary sources    Internet resources    Book reviews    Dissertations    Statistical information    Images    Videos    Music scores    Sound recordings    Internet reference sources   

Research assistance    More tips on researching at Yale

Researching a Topic in Four Easy Steps:

Step 1: Define your topic
Basic reference tools like encyclopedias, bibliographies, and the Subject Guides developed by Yale librarians can help you define the parameters of your topic.
Step 1a: Defining your topic -- Use the Subject Guides that have been developed by Yale librarians
The Research Guides by Subject [] provide information about resources for research in specific subject areas. The focus and contents of the guides vary significantly, depending on the subject area, and they are by no means comprehensive, but if you find that there is a comprehensive guide for your subject area, it will save you a lot of time and effort. Research Guides by Subject are linked to from the library home page [] under Research Tools.
Step 1b: Defining your topic -- Reference Sources can help you define your topic. Encyclopedias and dictionaries, bibliographies, and other general reference sources exist for nearly every imaginable subject. They provide concise overviews of various topics and point to relevant documentation.
  • Check for relevant reference sources in the Subject Guides [] that have been developed by Yale librarians. This is the most efficient way for you to discover reputable sources.
  • You can also identify reference resources in Yale's online catalog, Orbis []. Try using keyword searches like these to identify relevant sources:
    women and encyclopedia
    "civil war" and "united states" and dictionaries
    islam and bibliographies
    Then refine your search by using the subject headings that appear in relevant records.
  • See the Yale Library Online Reference Resources [] site for general reference sources.
  • Step 2: Find out what has already been written on your topic
    Once you have chosen a topic, the next step is to search the literature to see what has already been written. Look first for books and journal articles.
    Step 2a: Find out what has been written on your topic - Books Find citations for books written on your topic in catalogs, databases, and bibliographies:
    Library catalogs and databases:
  • Begin with Yale's online catalog, Orbis [].
    Try some keyword searching first if you are not sure what subject headings are appropriate. When you find a relevant book, check to see what subject headings have been assigned to it and use those headings to refine your search.

    Yale libraries now use the Library of Congress Classification system ( and Library of Congress Subject Headings, but various other classification and subject heading systems have been used in the past. The content of catalog records, their format, and their arrangement have evolved over the years under many codes of cataloging rules.

  • Don't forget that not all Yale holdings are in Orbis yet. It may be necessary to check the card catalog for older books.

  • See WorldCat, The RLG Union Catalog (via Eureka), and Library Catalogs Worldwide [] for holdings beyond Orbis.

  • Scan the bibliographies in books you have already located for additional sources. (You will need to look the additional titles up in Orbis to see if Yale holds them.)

  • Look for book-length bibliographies and annual reviews on your subject.
    Search for bibliographies in Orbis with a Subject search by adding the subheading "--Bibliography" to a specified subject heading, try a keyword search that includes the terms "bibliographies or bibliography", or try a title search that begins "Annual review of..."
  • Step 2a: Find out what has been written on your topic - Periodical articles

    Periodical articles (also referred to as "journal articles" or "magazine articles") can be of two general types, both potentially useful in research:

  • Scholarly articles: These are written by specialists in their fields of study. They are published in journals aimed at specialized audiences usually identified by academic discipline (such as archaeology, Italian literature, economics, or biology) or by broad fields of study (such as the humanities, social sciences, or sciences).

    You might want to consult scholarly articles:
    • as secondary sources in your research
    • as sources for the identification of primary sources

    There are many indexes that can help you find articles in scholarly journals. Look in the Library's Subject Guides for sections on "Locating Journal Articles", on "Indexes and Abstracts", or on "Databases" to identify the indexing tools most relevant to your topic.

  • General articles: These are written by a variety of authors and published in journals and magazines aimed at educated but not specialized audiences, or at the general reading public

    You might want to consult general articles

    • for non-specialist treatment of a subject
    • as primary sources, indicative or reflective or the general or popular culture of a period or for contemporary non-specialist commentary on an event (see Serials as primary sources)

    The most frequently used resources that index general periodicals and/or offer full-text access to articles are:

    These are all available from the Databases & Article Searching: Databases.
  • For information on actually locating the text of a specific article once you have a citation, see How to locate a journal at Yale.
    Step 3: Consider other types of materials that might be relevant to your research
    For more thorough research, go beyond books and articles to identify information in other formats.
    Step 3a: Consider using alternate types of material: Primary Sources


    What is a primary source?
    The formats of primary sources
    Bibliographic tools for research in history


    A primary source is firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. The nature and value of a source cannot be determined without reference to the topic and questions it is meant to answer. The same document, or other piece of evidence, may be a primary source in one investigation and secondary in another. The search for primary sources does not, therefore, automatically include or exclude any category of records or documents.

    Other scholars' definitions and examples


    The categories that follow are neither rigorously exclusive nor hierarchical. A single primary source may overlap one or more of these categories; for instance, a map may be an item in an archival collection, or a manuscript may have been printed and published at some point as a book. Nonetheless, these categories have proven to be practical concepts for organizing and describing the kinds of sources that document history, and secondary sources, such as bibliographies, often focus on materials in one of these formats or categories.

    Printed or published texts

    Books and monographs
    A book is technically "a collection of leaves of paper, parchment, or other material, in some way affixed to one another, whether printed, written, or blank..." (ALA glossary of library and information science (Chicago: American Library Association, 1983), p.27). A monograph is "a systematic and complete treatise on a particular subject" (ALA glossary, p.48), in one or many volumes, complete at the time of publication or published with the intention of being completed at some future date.
    Books and monographs as primary sources

    Serials (newspapers, periodicals, magazines, scholarly journals)
    A serial is a publication that begins at a point in time, and continues publication, usually at regular, established intervals, with the intention of continuing publication indefinitely. A periodical is a serial that's published three or more times a year. Magazines and newspapers are general terms for types of periodicals, both describing publications of interest to general readers. Newspapers are often published more frequently than magazines and usually in a tabloid format. Scholarly journals are publications that report the research of scholars and are often quite discipline-specific.
    Serials as primary sources

    Government documents
    "Important reference material may be found in publications issued by national, state, and municipal governments and by international governmental organizations. Government publications (often called government documents) chronicle the workings of governmental units, both currently and historically; provide information on many other subjects as well, including economics, history, education, health, labor, agriculture, and the arts; and contain large collections of national statistics." ( Guide to Reference Books / Eleventh edition (Chicago: American Library Association, 1996), p.244)
    Government documents as primary sources

    Manuscripts and Archives

    Unique documents, either hand-written or typed, varying in length from a single note or letter to a full-length book, and small groups of the same. Archival documents may be either personal papers or institutional archives.

    During this century the definition of manuscript, which originally referred to handwritten items, has evolved; it refers now to "... a body of records or personal papers or an artificial collection with historical value held by an institution or individual other than the creator." (Trudy Huskamp Peterson, "Using the finding aids to archive and manuscript collections," IN Teaching bibliographic skill in history: a sourcebook for historians and librarians , ed. Charles A. D'Aniello (New York: Greenwood Press, 1993), p.267).

    "In archives, [the term] manuscripts is used to distinguish nonarchival from archival material; it includes groups of personal papers and artificial collections." ( ALA glossary of library and information science (Chicago: American Library Association, 1983), p.139.
    See Step 3b: Consider using alternate types of material: Manuscript and Archival Materials


    "A map is a representation on a flat surface (usually of paper) of the features of a part of the earth's surface or of the skies, drawn at a specific scale" (Small, John. A modern dictionary of geography (London: Edwin Arnold, 1989), p.140)
    Bibliographic tools for map research

    Dissertations are book-length studies based on original research and written in partial fulfillment of requirements for the doctoral degree.
    Dissertations as primary sources

    Visual materials

    Visual materials are generally comprised of the following types of images: original art (single paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculpture, architectural drawings and plans, monoprints); films ; prints (works reproduced in multiple copies, including graphic art, etchings, engravings, lithographs, woodcuts, mezzotints, posters, trade cards, artists' prints, and computer-generated graphics; and photographs (images taken with a camera and reproducible from a photographic negative, and also those negatives)
    Visual materials as primary sources


    Music, according to the Oxford English dictionary , is "... that one of the fine arts which is concerned with the combination of sounds with a view to beauty of form and the expression of emotion". It consists of "... sounds in melodic or harmonic combination, whether produced by voice or instruments", particularly as devised by a composer.
    Music as a primary source

    Machine readable data files

    Machine-readable data files are collections of numeric data stored in a form that can only be read by a computer.
    Data files as primary sources
    Tools for identifying machine-readable datafiles

    Realia or artifacts

    Realia can best be described as "... objects which may be used as teaching aids but were not made for the purpose." ( Oxford English dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930), v.13, p.274). Realia include such items as objects, specimens, samples, relics, artifacts, souvenirs, and even models and dioramas. Artifacts are "... anything made by human art and workmanship." ( Oxford English dictionary , v.1, p.660)
    Realia as primary sources


    This section is designed to provide a selected list of basic printed and electronic resources to help in the identification of primary sources in the several specific national histories included below. These sources include:

    A bibliography is "A list of works..., usually with some relationship between them, e.g. by a given author, on a given subject, or published in a given place, and differing from a catalog in that its contents are not restricted to the holdings of a single collection, library, or group of libraries." ( The ALA glossary of library and information science (Chicago: American Library Association, 1983), p.22). There are several types of bibliographies:

    An annotated bibliography has entries which include " ... note[s] ... intended to describe, explain, or evaluate the publication referred to." ( ALA glossary , p.8)
    EXAMPLE: Historical abstracts. v.1- 1955- . [Santa Barbara, Calif., Clio Press]

    A current bibliography records currently or recently published documents, with the intent of reporting the recent literature as it appears.
    EXAMPLE: America: history and life. v.0- 1972- . [Santa Barbara, Calif., Clio Press]

    A national bibliography is "A bibliography of documents published in a particular country and, ... documents ... written in the language of the country." ( ALA glossary , p.151).
    EXAMPLE: British national bibliography. v.1- 1950- . London : Council of the British National Bibliography.

    A period bibliography lists works about a given time period.
    EXAMPLE: Bibliotheque des Fontaines. Catalogue du fonds revolutionnaire / Bibliotheque des Fontaines. Chantilly : La Bibliotheque, 1989. 2 v.

    A retrospective bibliography "... lists documents or parts of documents, such as articles, published in previous years, as distinct from a current bibliography ... . Retrospective bibliographies are frequently divided into two types ... [one of which is] research-oriented, [and] are intended as jumping-off points for those doing research in the topic covered ... ." ( ALA glossary , p.194)
    EXAMPLE: Diaz Sanchez, Pilar. Las mujeres en la historia de Espasna, siglos XVIII-XX : bibliografia comentada / Pilar Diaz Sanchez, Pilar Dominguez Prats. Madrid : Ministerio de Cultura, Instituto de la Mujer, 1988.

    A serial bibliography appears at fixed intervals of time, e.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, and has as its mission the reporting of titles, often both book titles and article titles (as well as dissertations, book reviews, pamphlets, and other types of material) as they appear.
    EXAMPLE: Historical abstracts . v.1- 1955- . [Santa Barbara, Calif., etc. American Bibliographical Center-Clio Press]

    A subject bibliography lists works about a given subject.
    EXAMPLE: Bass, Dorothy C. Women in American religious history : an annotated bibliography and guide to sources / Dorothy C. Bass, Sandra Hughes Boyd. Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, c1986.

    Guides to the literature
    Narrative introductions to doing research in a given subject area, with suggestions for research approaches and introductions to the research literature and sources of the field.

    EXAMPLE: The American Historical Association's guide to historical literature / general editor, Mary Beth Norton ; associate editor, Pamela Gerardi. 3rd ed. New York : Oxford University Press, 1995. 2 v.

    Indexes generally provide access to the contents of individual periodicals or newspapers, or to the contents of multiple periodicals and newspapers whose subject focus is similar. They differ from bibliographies in that fact that they contain citations to only one type of publication -- articles, book reviews, and editorials in periodicals -- rather than to a range of materials, e.g. books, articles, and maps.

    EXAMPLE: The New York times index . v.1- 1851- . New York, New York Times Co.

    EXAMPLE: Air University Library index to military periodicals . v.1- 1963- . Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. : Air University Library.

    Library catalogs
    Many research libraries, or specialized collections within those libraries, have produced multi-volume printed book catalogs to the contents of these collections through a specific date, e.g. all works cataloged before 1970. Because of the subject focus and inclusiveness of many of these collections, these catalogs of specific collections can used as bibliographies on the subject focus of the collection.

    EXAMPLE American Antiquarian Society. Catalogue of the manuscript collections of the American Antiquarian Society. Boston : G. K. Hall, 1979. 4 v.

    EXAMPLE Great Britain. Colonial Office. Library. Catalogue of the Colonial Office Library, London. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1964. 15v. plus supplement

    This material is based on the website created to support a series of colloquia in historical research offered by the Yale University Library. The initial site was prepared in August 1996 by Suzanne Lorimer, Susanne Roberts, Margaret Powell, George Miles, Fred Musto, Emily Horning, Cesar Rodriguez, Nancy Godleski, Richard Williams, Elizabeth Pauk, and Martha Brogan.

    Step 3b: Consider using alternate types of material - Manuscript and Archival Materials

    Manuscript and archival materials are unique resources that can be found in only one library or institution (though copies may be available elsewhere on microfilm or microfiche.) Generally speaking, manuscript collections relate to individuals or family groups while archival collections are generated by organizations or institutions. "Manuscript" originally described any handwritten item, but the format of manuscript and archival materials now is diverse and may include letters and diaries, photographs, maps, architectural drawings, objects, computer tape, video and audio cassettes, etc. The size of a collection may range from a single document to hundreds or even thousands of linear feet.

    You might want to use manuscripts/archives:

    • for historical or sociological research
    • as primary source materials
    • to be in the most direct contact with the creator or the event

    Manuscript and archival materials are held at various Yale libraries, many of which are described on the Special Collections at Yale page ( You can search for manuscript and archival collections in Orbis by using the More Limits search option and selecting the Item Type "Archives and Manuscripts." The Orbis record for a manuscript collection provides a brief summary of the content and extent of the collection. The Orbis record also usually directs you to a "finding aid", a document that provides more detailed information about the collection. Many of the finding aids for manuscript and archival collections at Yale are now available in fulltext on the web, through the Yale University Library Finding Aid Database (; other finding aids are available only in paper format at the repository.

    See the Yale University Manuscripts and Archives Tutorial ( for tips on getting started on research at Manuscripts and Archives in Sterling Memorial Library.

    For information about finding manuscript and archival materials beyond Yale's collections, see Locating materials at Yale and beyond: Archival Collections.

    Step 3c: Consider using alternate types of material - Internet Resources Resources on the Internet include websites, electronic texts, information about people and institutions, and discussion groups.

    Many search engines for the Internet are available. See this comparative chart for more information.

    The librarians at Yale have selected Internet sites of merit and included them in Subject Guides. You can count on these sites being scholarly and reliable.

    Ask yourself questions like these to evaluate information gleaned from Internet sites:

    • Who is the author of the website? Are the author's credentials listed?
    • What institution or organization is behind the website?
    • When was the website created or last updated?
    • Who is the intended audience for the website?
    • Is the information provided objective or biased?
    • How does information provided by the website compare to other works, including print works?

    Learn the Net tutorial

    Step 3d: Consider using alternate types of material - Book Reviews

    Reviews of books appear in journals and monographs. Books may be reviewed individually, or a group of related books may be reviewed and compared. Though short notices or summaries of a book often appear fairly quickly after its publication, scholarly book reviews usually don't appear in journals until a year or two after.

    You might want to consult book reviews:

    • as shortcuts to learning about the content of books
    • for information about the status and importance of a book
    • as summaries of work in your subject area

    Where you should look for a book review depends on whether the book in question is popular or scholarly, current or historical. There are general indexes to book reviews as well as subject-specific indexes. Click here for more information about finding book reviews.

    Want to know more?

    Step 3e: Consider using alternate types of material - Dissertations and Theses

    Dissertations are book-length studies based on original research and written in partial fulfillment of requirements for the doctoral degree.

    Theses are extended research papers written in partial fulfillment of requirements for the master's degree.

    You might want to consult them

    • as secondary sources in your research for papers or for your own dissertation
    • as sources for the identification of primary sources
    • to see what type of research has been done recently in a particular department of a university
    • to see what topics specific faculty members have advised or to compile a list of people who have worked with the same dissertation adviser

    Step 3f: Consider using alternate types of material - Statistics

    A number of websites have been created by Yale librarians to provide information about accessing statistical data that you may need for your research. See:

    Step 3g: Consider using alternate types of material - Microforms

    For information about microform collections at Yale, see the website of the Sterling Memorial Library Newspapers and Microform Reading Room. ( This site includes information about Major Microform Collections, Newspapers in Microform, and other resources.

    History Universe ( provides a web-based finding aid for certain microform collections. Instead of searching through several printed guides that accompany microforms, you may search all the microform collections in the database by keyword or browse the electronic versions of the printed guides by title or subject. The end result will be a list of descriptions of records you can find either in Yale University Library's microform collections or through interlibrary loan.

    Step 3h: Consider using alternate types of material - Pamphlets

    Pamphlets are typically complete publications of five to fifty pages of non-periodical printed matter enclosed in paper covers. A pamphlet is also more specifically defined as a brief, controversial treatise on a topic of current interest, usually religious or political, common in England from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century.

    You might want to consult them

    • as primary sources, and sometimes the only sources, for a research topic
    • as collections leading to more specific research topics
    • as sources defining social, political, and religious issues in time periods
    Step 3i: Consider using alternate types of material - Maps Maps appear in many Yale libraries and collections, ranging from portolan charts to geological survey maps to Sanborn fire insurance maps. The Yale University Library Map Collection website ( should be your first stop for maps. The Map Collection site provides information about maps that are available at Yale, in other university collections, and on the Internet, as well as listing relevant reference materials and digital resources.

    You might want to consult maps

    • for historical research
    • for sociological documentation
    • for geographic analysis
    • to plan a trip
    Step 3j: Consider using alternate types of material - Music Scores There are a variety of locations for music scores (i.e., printed and manuscript music) in the Yale Library and on campus.

    You might want to use scores

    • to study music
    • for historical or sociological research
    • as primary source materials
    The Music Library in Sterling Memorial Library (120 High Street) is the primary location on campus for scores, with more than 80,000 scores in a variety of formats, including early and modern editions as well as sketches and manuscripts. Sterling Memorial Library and the Mudd Library have collections of popular and folk songs in foreign languages.  Many of these materials are listed only the the SML Card Catalog.  Scores are also present in the rare and archival collections of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Manuscripts and Archives Department of Sterling Memorial Library.   The Institute of Sacred Music maintains a Choral Lending Library of over 1,000 choral octavo scores.

    Modern scores in the Music Library include scholarly critical editions, performing editions with parts, study editions (also known as miniature scores), and facsimile editions of manuscripts and early prints.  Sheet music, a term often used to describe any kind of published music, is used by libraries to describe individual songs and short pieces of music published separately on a few sheets, as opposed to songs or short pieces published in collections or anthologies.  Rare and Special Collections at Yale include music from the middle ages to the twentieth century in sketches, manuscript, and early editions as well as in the archival papers of composers and musicians.

    How to Find Scores at Yale and Beyond

    In Orbis, one may limit to scores by using the More Limits button and selecting from the category Item Type, "Printed Musical Scores" or "Manuscript Musical Scores" (or both by holding down the Shift key while clicked on each term).

      Example:  a keyword search: mozart and figaro with More Limits set for "Printed Musical Scores"
    The titles of individual songs or other short musical works published in collections may not be listed in Orbis, but may be found in published bibliographies or indexes.  For more information, please see a reference librarian.

    In the RLG Union Catalog (RLIN) via Eureka and in WorldCat via FirstSearch, one may limit to scores using the "Material Type" limiting search.


    Step 3k: Consider using alternate types of material - Sound Recordings You might want to use sound recordings (music or spoken word)
    • to study music
    • for historical or sociological research
    • as primary source materials
    The Music Library in Sterling Memorial Library (120 High Street) is the primary location on campus for sound recordings, with two collections.  The Recordings Library is a collection of about 25,000 LPs and CDs designed to support the curriculum and is especially strong in western art music, with holdings in jazz and world music.  The Historical Sound Recordings Collection, an archival collection of more than 160,000 recordings from the beginning of recorded sound to the present, also features classical music as well as jazz, musical theatre, spoken word  (e.g., poetry, plays, and speeches) and recordings that relate to archival collections belonging to the Beinecke Library, the Music Library, and the Manuscripts and Archives Department in Sterling Memorial Library.  The Oral History, American Music project in Stoeckel Hall (96 Wall Street) contains recorded interviews with composers and musicians.  A list of interviewees is available on the web site.
      How to find sound recordings at Yale and beyond: Recordings Library
    The Recordings Library has material cataloged as follows:
    • Recordings cataloged since 1981 are in Orbis.
    • Recordings cataloged prior to 1981 are in two card catalogs, housed in the Music Library:
      • Catalog 1, 1952 to 1972, split into two files:
        • Authors, titles, and subject headings
        • Performers
      • Catalog 2, from 1973 to 1980, also split into two files:
        • Authors, titles, and subject headings
        • Performers
    • Several in-house lists are maintained to provide access to uncataloged recordings in the following areas:
      • Ethnic and World Music
      • Guitar Music
      • Jazz Recordings
      • Music by Charles Ives
      • Music by Virgil Thomson
    To retrieve only sound recordings in Orbis set the More Limits Medium Type to "Sound Recording."
    Alternatively, the word sound is a fairly precise keyword term for finding recordings:
    • Example: Keyword Search: beethoven and "op 101" and sound
    The term discography is used in subject headings for bibliographies of recordings.
    • Example:  Keyword Search: "popular music" and discography
    In OCLC's WorldCat , choose "Advanced Search" and in the "Document Type" field choose "Sound Recordings."
    In the RLG Union Catalog (RLIN) via Eureka: perform a search, limit to "Material Type" and choose "Sound Recordings" or "Recordings".
    The Historical Sound Recordings Collection The holdings of the Historical Sound Recordings Collection are listed in discographies and lists maintained by the Curator of Historical Sound Recordings.

    Partial holdings may be found in the Rigler & Deutsch Index of Pre-LP Commercial Discs held by the Associated Audio Archives which forms part of the RLG Union Catalog (RLIN), accessible via Eureka.  The Rigler & Deutsch Index contains ca. 615,000 sound recordings of music, speech, instructional materials and sound effects, from ca. 1895-mid-1950s, held in the archives of the New York Public Library, Stanford University, Yale University, the Library of Congress, and Syracuse University.  Records for Yale's Historical Sound Recordings Collection can be identified by the following information in the bibliographic record:

    • Version: Rigler-Deutsch (Resource File)
    • Record ID: RDIXCY...  (Note that RDIX stands for Rigler-Deutsch Index and that CY stands for Connecticut - Yale)
    Step 3L: Consider using alternate types of material - Video Recordings

    There are a variety of locations for video recordings in the Yale Library and on campus.  The Film Study Center (53 Wall St.) is the primary location on campus for video recordings, with over 5000 items in its collection.  The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies is a collection of over 3,700 videotaped interviews with witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust. There are also a number of video recordings on closed reserve in the Cross Campus Library.

    You might want to use videos

    • to study cinema
    • for historical or sociological research
    • as primary source materials
    • to supplement a class


    Step 4: Locating materials at Yale and beyond
    Choose the "Locating Yale resources" link below for tips on finding material in the Yale libraries. For a major research project, it will often be necessary to locate materials that Yale doesn't own. Use the remaining links below to identify and locate materials and collections outside of Yale.
    Step 4a: Locating materials at Yale and beyond - Yale Determining the location of materials at Yale: Records in Orbis indicate which library at Yale holds the item in question.
    The location code "LSF" means that the item must be retrieved from the Yale University Library Shelving Facility.

    The Eli Express delivery service allows library users to have books paged from any of the participating Yale libraries or the Library Shelving Facility (LSF) for delivery to a library chosen by the user. Books owned by the pick-up library will NOT be pulled and held at the same library.

    All items with the notation "(Non-Circulating)" may be used only in the library that owns them.

    Finding the material within the holding library:
    Click here for a map of library locations
    Library locations:

    Step 4b: Locating materials at Yale and beyond - Interlibrary Loan If the item you want is not available at Yale, don't despair.

    See the Yale Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Services website ( for basic information and electronic forms.

    Step 4c: Locating materials at Yale and beyond - Other Online Catalogs Various online catalogs can help you identify materials not held at Yale. These include:

    You may want to consult other online catalogs:

    • if you can't locate a book in Orbis or the Yale card catalogs.
    • if you want to be sure that you have traced all the publications by a particular author.
    • if you are looking for manuscript collections or other unique sources not available at Yale.
    Step 4d: Locating materials at Yale and beyond - The National Union Catalog Many materials held by U.S. libraries still do not appear in any online catalog. The multi-volume National Union Catalog published by the Library of Congress is an excellent source for tracking down these items.

    You may want to consult the National Union Catalog

    • to track down a work that does not appear in available online catalogs
    • to find more works by a particular author
    • to check for variant editions of a work
    The 754 volume National Union Catalog, pre-1956 imprints, an author list representing Library of Congress printed cards and titles reported by other American libraries, was published between 1968 and 1981. The NUC continued publication in print form through 1983 with five year cumulations 1958-1962, 1963-1967, 1968-1972, 1973-1978, then annual cumulations 1979-1983.

    Step 4e: Locating materials at Yale and beyond - Dissertations See this website for information: Obtaining Copies of Dissertations: Some Common Questions (disscops.html).

    Step 4f: Locating materials at Yale and beyond - Archival Collections You may need to identify archival collections beyond Yale when doing primary source research.
    These online databases contain records of manuscript and archival materials:
    An increasing number of archival repositories provide electronic versions of the finding aids for their manuscript and archival collections. These electronic finding aids may be accessible only through the repositories' websites. The best online guide to repository websites is the University of Idaho guide: Repositories of Primary Sources.

    There are also many print guides to manuscript and archival collections that focus on special subject areas or document the holdings of a particular repository. Consult the Subject Guide for your area of interest to identify relevant guides to manuscript and archival material, or search Orbis.

    Step 4g: Locating materials at Yale and beyond - Union List of Serials/ New Serial Titles The Union List of Serials is a five volume set that provides the location of 157,000 journals in 956 United States and Canadian libraries as of 1966. New Serial Titles supplements and updates the original Union List. It is issued monthly, with cumulations.

    You may want to consult the Union List of Serials and New Serial Titles

    • To see which libraries hold volumes of periodicals that Yale lacks
    • To verify the name and publication data of a serial
    • To help decipher an obscure reference to a journal

    © 2007 Yale University Library
    This file last modified 09/25/13
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