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About Collection Guides

Special Collections is the UW Libraries' major resource for rare and archival materials covering a broad range of topics, formats, and periods. Research strengths include the history of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Western Canada; architecture; book arts; 19th century American literature; photography; and historical children's literature. Special Collections also houses the official Archives of the University of Washington.

Collection guides (also known as finding aids) are detailed guides to archival and photograph collections. A small, but growing number are available online. All of them are available at the Special Collections Reference Desk.

Ask us via the web or call 206-543-1929 if you have any questions.

Collection guides identify, describe, and list the contents of collections of materials which are not individually cataloged. Most guides also contain information about the person or organization who created the collection. Typically, these guides do not describe individual items in the collection being described, but rather describe groupings of materials such as the contents of a folder or a box as well as the organizational context in which these materials are stored.