Finding guides to collections are available in the Special Collections reading room and through the Online Archive of California (OAC).
The OAC allows keyword searching of the 200+ collection guides and box lists that have been converted to electronic format. However, we are still in the process of converting our guides and until that point many are still only available in paper format in our reading room.
Many collections are also cataloged in 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.
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, such as books, serials, and records (LPs, 78s, etc.) are cataloged in the UCSB Library Catalog.
Scope of the Collections
The Department of Special Collections comprises six sections:
- Rare Books and Named Collections, responsible for printed material in all formats, including monographs, serials, newspapers, pamphlets, reports, broadsides, maps, microfilm and fiche, and the reference collection.
- 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).
- 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.
- Performing Arts Collection includes material relating to music, dance, theater, and related areas, with extensive audiovisual holdings, particularly historical sound recordings.
- The UCSB Oral History Collection includes interviews which support the general established collecting areas of Special Collections.
- The University Archives acquires official university records of permanent value and other materials documenting the development of the institution, including papers of faculty and administrators.
The collections of each area are guided by a collection management policy.
Reproduction Policies and Fees
Limited reproduction is possible from Special Collections materials. This is determined on a case-by-case basis and is dependant on factors such as the condition of the materials as well as pre-defined donor agreements. Additional information is available on our Reproduction Policy page or by contacting the Special Collections front office at special [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu.
Please note that all reproduction is done by Special Collections staff.
For more information about policies governing the use of our collections, please see our Rules for Use.