Finding SCRC Materials & Collections

Main Content

SCRC offers several online research tools to help you locate materials.

  • SIUCat Classic is used to find rare books.
  • Archon is used to find detailed information about archival collections (including photograph collections).
  • CARLI Digital Collections is used to find digitized material, including images and texts.

For more information on the different types of materials and collections in SCRC, see our About page.

To locate as much relevant SCRC material as possible on a particular topic, try searching all three of the databases listed above on.

Working with Primary Sources

Welcome to our tutorial!  Here you will learn to understand the value and uses of primary sources and how to find them in the Special Collections Research Center.

About the images: unless indicated, all of the examples provided in the tutorial can be found in the Special Collections Research Center.

Finding Manuscripts, Photographs, University Records, and Other Archival Collections

Archon contains finding aids for archival collections. To search Archon, enter keywords related to your topic into the search bar at the top of the screen (examples: "james joyce" or "civil war"). The results screen will list all the finding aids that contain your search terms. Clicking on a result will take you to a screen that provides an overview of the collection. If you are interested in viewing material in the collection, click on the link on the "Finding Aid/Inventory" link on the right side of the screen. The finding aid will help narrow your search to specific series or boxes within the collection. Once you know which boxes you want to use, make note of the Collection ID number (found at the top of the Finding Aid), and the box numbers before you visit SCRC.

Finding Rare Books and Dissertations/Theses

Records for Rare Books can be found in SIUCat Classic.

Archival copies of all SIU dissertations, theses, and research papers are held in SCRC, and records for these can also be found in SIUCat. Most of these are in offsite storage locations and will be available 72 hours after they are requested. Please note that these materials must be used in the SCRC reading room and cannot be checked out. The library does hold circulating or electronic copies of many of these papers.

Student Dissertations and Theses: Please first consult the Morris Library catalog for reserve holdings on microfilm or in printed format. If unavailable, please contact the University Archives for access to the preservation copy. To order personal copies, visit the ProQuest Web site at

Finding Digitized Materials

SCRC maintains an active digitization program, and many photographs and texts are now available online via CARLI Digital Collections. This website hosts digitized materials from many libraries throughout Illinois. The advanced search screen for the website allows you to search for all available materials, or you can use the menu at the bottom of the screen to limit your search to SIU collections.

The Special Collections Research Center has a new URL! Please update your bookmarks to to see the latest information.