How to Request Materials from Special Collections

New to Special Collections and University Archives? Unsure how to view materials from our collections? We’re here to help!

Special Collections is home to rare and unique materials covering a broad range of topics, formats, and periods. We have both primary and secondary resources on UMD, Maryland history, literature, rare books, broadcasting, women’s history, labor history, post-war Japan, and so much more. Visit our website to explore our collections!

Since our materials are located behind closed stacks, you will need to place a request for materials from our collections using the Special Collections Research Account (Aeon) online. This means you can make requests from the comfort of home, or visit the Maryland Room and get help from one of our wonderful librarians on staff! We are located in the Maryland Room, on the 1st floor of Hornbake Library North.

Let’s walk through the process of making a request for items in Special Collections and University Archives. Here are the steps to request materials from our collections:

  1. Register for a Special Collections Research Account online.

Here’s what your account will look like:

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You can log into your account anytime to request materials to be placed on hold for you in our reading room. You can also place photoduplication/scanning orders and view the status of your current requests. As you can see above, there are no current requests open for this account. Let’s place a request for something!

2. Locate the item(s) you want to view.

On the left-side of your account, you will notice several links to find materials in our collections. Not sure where to start? Contact us via email or visit the Maryland Room and speak with one of our helpful librarians.

You may already know the title of the book or archival collection you want to view, or you may want to start a search from scratch. In either case, click on the appropriate ‘Submit request Via’ links to start. You can search the library catalog (classic), archival finding aids, Maryland map database, or digital collections. Here are the two most popular options:

Library Catalog (Classic)

The classic catalog contains the records for many of our books, serials, and other items in our collections. You can search by title, author, subject, and more. Have you already located the item you want in WorldCat UMD?  That’s great! Write down the call number or title and search the classic catalog to request the item from Special Collections and University Archives.

When you locate the book you want to request, click on the ‘Request from Special Collections’ link in the record. You then will be asked to log into your account. All the information for the item will be automatically filled in for your request. If you want to see a particular volume of a publication, be sure to fill that part in. Now all you need to do select what day you plan to visit the Maryland Room and submit your request. It’s that easy!

Click on the image below to view the catalog record and request form for a book from our collections.


Finding Aids (ArchivesUM)

ArchivesUM is a resource for searching finding aids for our archival collections. You can search by subject or keyword. If you need help finding material from our finding aids, or just need help getting started, Contact us via email or visit the Maryland Room and speak with one of our librarians.

A finding aid is an index to an archival or manuscript collection. It will tell you what type of material you can find in a collection. When you open a finding aid, on the left side you will see a table of contents listing the materials in that particular collection. You may be interested in correspondence, diaries, business records, photographs, or other types of available primary sources. Scroll through a finding aid to locate what boxes contain the material you are interested in viewing.

Once you identify the boxes you want to request, select the ‘Request from Special Collections’ link at the top of the finding aid. You will then be asked to log into your account. When the request page appears, check all the boxes you would like to view. You can request up to 15 boxes at a time. But don’t worry, we can help you make additional requests when you arrive in the reading room. Be sure to select the date you plan to visit the Maryland Room and submit your request.

Click on the images below to view a finding aid and request form for one of our archival collections.

Now that you’ve made requests, you can log into your account to view what you’ve submitted. Special Collections and University Archives staff will process the requests and pull the items for your visit.

Click the images below to view what our account looks like after we made our requests. As you can see, all the requests are listed as ‘Item on Hold’, which means they are currently waiting on hold in the reading room for our arrival.

4. Visit the Maryland Room

Now that you have submitted a request, it’s time to visit the reading room! The Maryland Room, located on the 1st Floor of Hornbake Library North. You do not need to make an appointment to visit, but please check our hours of operation online.



When you arrive, a staff member at our Welcome Desk will ask you to sign in and place your bags and coat in a locker before going into the reading room. Since our material is rare, unique, and often irreplaceable, we do not allow food, drinks, or permanent ink in the reading room. Explore our policies and FAQs online.

When you walk inside, a special collections librarian at the reference desk can help you search our collections, make requests, and pull any materials you currently have on hold.

Don’t Be Shy – Contact Us for Help !

If you encounter problems or just want a bit of support when finding or requesting materials in our collections, visit the Maryland Room, located on the first floor of Hornbake Library North, or email us at

Want to hear more about our collections, exhibits, and upcoming events, follow us on social media!



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