Using our Collections

Inventories/Finding Aids

Finding guides to collections are available in the Special Research Collections reading room and through the Online Archive of California (OAC).  The OAC allows keyword searching of the 3786 collection guides and box lists that have been converted to electronic format. Many collections are also cataloged in the UCSB Library Catalog and the Melvyl Catalog (University of California Libraries’ Union Catalog) and can be searched by title, personal names, subjects and keyword. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about the collections.

Subject Guides

To help you locate the collection or type of collection that you are looking for we have compiled many subject lists of collections. Additionally, our alphabetical list includes materials and collections listed alphabetically by subject as well as name.

Published Materials

Published materials, such as books, serials, and records (LPs, 78s, etc.) are cataloged in the UCSB Library Catalog.

Scope of the Collections

  • American Religions Collections (ARC) includes correspondence, flyers, calendars, newsletters and research files relating to numerous religious groups and movements.
  • Bernath Memorial Collection includes manuscript collections focusing on American diplomatic history and international relations. As well as photo albums, scrapbooks, and maps from around the world, including material related to Africa, East Asia, India and Europe, among other places.
  • California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) contains manuscript collections relating to the experience of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicano/Latino, and Native Americans in California, with emphasis on social history, including literature and the visual and performing arts.
  • Darwin/Evolution Collection contains manuscript materials, photo albums, correspondence, pamphlets, diaries, various ephemera and other printed materials relating to Charles Darwin and others interested in natural history and the theory of evolution.
  • General Manuscripts contains collections that have their own singular themes and subjects yet fall in a general realm within Special Collections.
  • Humanistic Psychology Archives (HPA) contains and solicits materials generated by the founders, pioneers and major individuals, organizations, centers, and institutions participating in humanistic psychology, including its historical, literary, social and artistic aspects.
  • Oral History includes interviews which support the general established collecting areas of Special Collections.
  • Performing Arts Collections includes material relating to music, dance, theater, and related areas, with extensive audiovisual holdings, particularly historical sound recordings.
  • Printers Collection contains manuscript collections related to the history of the book, printing, and book arts.
  • Rare Books and Printed Collections responsible for printed material in all formats, including monographs, serials, newspapers, pamphlets, reports, broadsides, maps, microfilm and fiche, and the reference collection.
  • Romaine Trade Catalog Collection primarily 19th and early 20th century American trade and advertising literature.
  • Santa Barbara History Collections contains dozens of manuscript collections pertaining to the development of several organizations, movements, and historical figures that made Santa Barbara their home.
  • University Archives acquires official university records of permanent value and other materials documenting the development of the institution, including papers of faculty and administrators.
  • William Wyles Collection ranges from subjects, including: Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, slavery, abolition, Western and Pacific expansion, travel in America, and the American West. There are also several hundred separate manuscript collections and 800 small collections, containing correspondence, diaries, and photos of individuals and families, many with Civil War connections.
  • Digital Collections

  • Other Manuscripts responsible for manuscript and archival collections, including paper materials, photographs, film and videotape, slides, audiotapes, various artistic media such as silkscreens, electronic records, and artifacts/realia (accepted very selectively).

The collections of each area are guided by a collection management policy.

Reproduction Policies and Fees

Please review our Reproduction Policy and our Overview of Duplication Fees for information on charges associated with reproduction. Additional fees may apply if you plan to use the reproduction in a commercial publication. Please note that all reproduction is done by Special Research Collections staff.

For more information about policies governing the use of our collections, please see our Rules for Use.

Click on the in bold text for more information about the use of audio/visual materials and about borrowing Special Collections materials through interlibrary loan.