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Special Collections - Black Experience

Search the Library Catalog

To browse the catalog for materials found in Special Collections, use the search bar to search by keyword or subject heading.



Searching for Materials in Special Collections and College Archives

MUSCAT Plus is Musselman Library's online catalog and serves as a tool to help researchers locate materials by keyword, phrase, or subject heading. Manuscript collections, books, pamphlets, maps, and other items in the Special Collections can be found by using the filters in the search bar and on the left side of the screen. 

Searching the Catalog

If, for example, you are trying to locate materials pertaining to President Dwight Eisenhower, start typing your keyword into the search bar. As you search, a drop-down list will appear. Choose the Special Collections option. This will give you all of the cataloged items in Special Collections about President Eisenhower. 

Narrowing Results

After you search, use the filters on the left side of the screen to limit your results. Source Types is particularly helpful because it will filter your results to the type of materials you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for a Manuscript Collection, you would select Collection.


Once you find what you are looking for, contact Special Collections and College Archives to schedule a research appointment. 

How to Read a Manuscript Collection Finding Aid

A finding aid is a guide for our Manuscript Collections and includes a description of the contents of the collection, the creator, formats, dates, as well as other useful information. A finding aid will help you locate materials that will be most helpful to you. 

The finding aids accessible through Musselman Library will follow the same format. Knowing how to read a finding aid will assist you in identifying what is included in the collection, ensuring that you have the right materials that you need for your research.

Browse Finding Aids

  • The Title will give you the initial description of what the focus of the collection will be. You will also need it when requesting the materials. The title of the collection will be in the format MS-###: Title
    • In the example below, the title is MS-246: Papers of the Bond / Smith Families 
  • The Inclusive Dates are all of the dates represented in the collection.
    • The Inclusive Dates in the example below are 1853 - 1976
  • The Bulk Dates are the dates that cover the majority of the collection. 
    • The Bulk Dates in the example below are 1910 - 1920

Example of a Finding Aid that shows the title, inclusive dates, and bulk dates of the collection

  • The Biographical Note provides context on the subject of the collection, who may be a person, family, group, organization, institution, or business. It is not a full biography, but covers enough information to supplement the materials.
  • Similar to the Biographical Note, the Historical Note gives context to the events described in the collection.
  • The Scope and Content Notes give an overview of the types of materials that are in the collection. It can also describe what is not in the collection and point out gaps in information. 

Example of a Finding Aid that highlights the Historical Note and Scope & Contents Note

  • The Series Description is a brief description of how the collection is arranged.
  • The Box List is a record of what is included in the collection. Each box contains one or more series which organize the materials by a specific filing format, such as an individual, topic, or type of material.

Example of a Finding Aid that highlights the Series Description and Box List

Search the Special Collections Website

This function will allow you to search within LibGuides, Manuscript Collections, Finding Aids, and Databases. To search the library's catalog, use MUSCAT Plus.



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