The primary purpose of Special Collections is to collect, preserve, arrange, describe, and provide access to unique historical materials and significant research collections. To support and complement this primary mission, we have several places for you to search our materials.

Basic Introduction Research Guide

Learn more about Special Collections and get help starting your research with our introductory research guide!

  • Research Guides
  • Manuscript Collections & University Archives
  • Rare Books & Publications
  • Online Collections & Exhibits

Special Collections has several research guides that identify resources about specific topics in Special Collections and beyond. These also include research guides designed for specific Virginia Tech courses whose students have utilized our materials for their coursework.

View the Special Collections Research Guides.

Special Collections creates finding aids to describe our manuscript collections and record groups in the University Archives, hosted both on Special Collections' ArchivesSpace database and Virginia Heritage. Manuscript collections contain personal and professional papers, correspondence, business records, architectural drawings, maps, oral histories, and other items, while record groups comprise the offical university records of the Board of Visitors, presidents, offices, departments, colleges, and more.

Finding aids for manuscript collections and record groups describe information about the collection titles, collection numbers (similar to call numbers), and general information about the collections, such as the creators, subjects, dates, size, and contents.


Special Collections' ArchivesSpace database has finding aids of manuscript collections and record groups as well as information about digital materials, art works, maps, and textiles. You can both search and browse these materials.

Visit ArchivesSpace.

Virginia Heritage

Virginia Heritage searches the finding aids of Special Collections and other institutions in Virginia. To search only Special Collections' manuscript collections and record groups, select "Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University" in the drop down menu.

Visit Virginia Heritage.

Special Collections catalogs our rare books; periodicals, such as newsletters, magazines, and newspapers; and other publications in the University Libraries' Online Catalog. The advanced search will allow you to search only Special Collections' materials by selecting "SPEC material rstor" and "Spec in-house" in the item type field.

Visit the University Libraries' Online Catalog.

Special Collections hosts digital and digitized materials from our collections online in a few different locations. These items are available for the public to view and share.

Find out more about accessing our online collections and digital exhibits.


Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM*
*with exceptions

Site Map of
Special Collections