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University Archives and Special Collections: Information for Researchers

Use this guide to help you navigate the archives finding aid portal.

Using the archives

University Archives and Special Collections is a non-circulating, closed stacks collection, and collection materials can only be accessed in our reading room. Our open hours are Monday - Thursday, 1:00pm - 5:00pm, with availability at other times by appointment. It is helpful to locate relevant materials before your visit through our finding aid portal or topic guides. Archives staff can also help you find relevant materials before and during your visit. 

There are many other Chicago area archives and repositories that can help further your research. The Explore Chicago Collections portal is a good starting point for browsing materials in other area repositories. You may find the Chicago History MuseumRyerson and Burnham Archives at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Public Library Archives, and the Newberry Library particularly helpful. 

Use Policies

Researchers will be asked to sign a research agreement before handling original materials and sign in during each visit. 

Food and open drinks are not allowed in the reading room. When working with collection materials, all drinks must be securely covered and put away.

Photography for personal research use is allowed. Use of personal scanners in the reading room is prohibited. If you intend to use reproductions of collection material in a publication or commercial presentation, please see our reproduction policy.

Laptops are allowed in the reading room. Temporary wifi access can be set up through IIT’s Office of Technology Services. There are limited outlets in the reading room, so please plan accordingly. There is also a computer available for searching the finding aid portal and viewing online resources. 

Researchers are asked to use pencils rather than pens when consulting collection material.

Use of the reading room is restricted to visitors consulting University Archives and Special Collections material and/or resources. 

Remote Research

We can answer some simple research inquires over email at, however many projects require visiting the archives in person. If you are unable to visit, we do have some digital exhibits and online resources that may help to answer your question.