Research in Special Collections

The Special Collections department is available to assist all interested researchers with each stage of a research project. Undergraduates, faculty, the general public, new and experienced researchers - all are welcome. The resources below can help with searching and locating research resources; what to expect when you visit Special Collections; how to cite your sources; and how to submit reproduction and permission requests. If you have additional questions, please feel encouraged to contact the Special Collections staff directly. We can be reached by:

  • chat (select "Ask a Librarian" button on the right side of any webpage),
  • e-mail (,
  • phone (410-455-2353),
  • or in person when the Reading Room is open (view semester hours).

Using Special Collections

Please click on the above link and read the guidelines before visiting.

Finding materials

Use the resources below to search for materials held in the Special Collections department.

  • Library Catalog (catalogusmai): the main Library catalog contains records for the books, serials, theses and dissertations held in Special Collections. Use the "Named Collection" menu to narrow your results to a specific topic or format, for example Bafford (Photography books and serials).
  • Special Collections Search: this catalog searches only materials held in the Special Collections department, including photographs; archival collections; comics, fanzines, and pulps; and UMBC publications.
  • UMBC Digital Collections: a selection of digitized and born digital items from Special Collections. Highlights include the Lewis Hine child labor photographs, Hughes Company glass negatives collection, UMBC photographs and publications, and the Joseph L. Arnold manuscript, "History of Baltimore: 1729-1920."
  • Browse all finding aids
  • Browse by subjects and material format

Research guides

Citing primary sources

The Library offers several guides to help you cite your sources:

  • Citing Sources: Learn why, where, when, what and how you should cite your sources. This guides also includes examples from several widely used citation styles and tutorials on using Zotero and EndNote.
  • Citing Primary Sources: Primary sources often require parts of a citation that you may not sound familiar if you are used to citing articles and books. This guide provides examples of citations for photographs, archives, and audiovisual items from several style guides.

If you are using an image of an item from Special Collections in your research, we ask that you include a credit line. Additional information about a credit line and is available on the Rights & Reproductions page.

Rights & Reproductions

Click the link above to learn more about requesting scans, photocopies, or permission to publish Special Collections materials.

Undergraduate Research Award

The Friends of the Library & Gallery is inaugurating a $500 award for undergraduates to do research in the library's Special Collections. Projects that make substantial onsite use of the Special Collections in any area ranging from the photography collections to the biological sciences archives, and from the rare books to the science fiction holdings are eligible for consideration by the committee charged with judging the applications. Applicants must submit a project statement, a writing sample, and a letter of recommendation for them and their project from a faculty mentor. The applications and accompanying materials must be submitted to Chief Curator Tom Beck by November 12, 2015 for funding during the spring semester 2016.

Lois Kuhn Romeo, Chair of the Friends Council, said that the group is delighted to offer support to student researchers in Special Collections. "UMBC is nationally recognized as an innovator in undergraduate research, and the Friends wishes to recognize talented students by giving them support in doing their research," Ms. Romeo remarked. Acting Director of the Library & Gallery Joyce Tenney said: "The Special Collections have excellent holdings and superb staff that will be pleased to give the Friends award winners the benefit of their expertise."

Questions may be sent to Tom Beck by telephone (x53827) or email (

Submit a question

Special Collections staff are happy to assist you with any questions that you might have about visiting and conducting research. We can be reached by:

  • chat (select "Ask a Librarian" button on the right side of any webpage),
  • e-mail (,
  • phone (410-455-2353),
  • or in person when the Reading Room is open (view semester hours).

Special Collections Services


Special Collections Hours

  • Monday - Friday 1pm - 4pm
  • Thursday 1pm - 8pm
  • By appointment during Summer Term, Winter Term, and Intersession

Gallery Hours

  • Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm
  • Thursday 10am - 8pm
  • Saturday - Sunday 12noon - 5pm