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What should I know about phrasing my searches?

How can I filter my search results?

How do I request materials?

Collections often consist of individual items that have been described in and can be requested through the online catalogue. To request materials that are not described in our catalogue, like most archival items, please select the ‘Request’ button at the top of the collection guide page and fill out the form.

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The materials are only available for examination and must be used within the Special Collections reading room of Leiden University Library. Access to the materials may be (temporarily) restricted, for example when conservation work or digitization is taking place.

For consultation a personal library card (LU-Card) is needed. All library visitors can have a library account and LU-Card made at the library; no academic affiliation is required

Does this website include all the Special Collections materials of Leiden University Libraries? What if I cannot find what I am looking for?

This website covers most of the archives and collections held at Leiden University Libraries. However, some archives and collections have not been processed yet, and therefore no collection guide is available. Please contact us if you want to use unprocessed materials or if you are unable to find a collection guide, but have reason to think we may hold the materials you are looking for.

Other Special Collections materials of Leiden University Libraries can be found through:

Glossary of terms and symbols

Archives are materials created or received by a person, family, or organization in the conduct of their affairs and preserved because of the enduring value of the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator.

Collections are groups of materials assembled by a person, family, organization, or repository.

Collection guides (also known as finding aids) allow users to discover, understand, and access the materials. Collection guides describe the creation, arrangement, content, and context of collections and archives. Most collection guides on this website contain descriptions on collection-level (also known as fonds-level). These descriptions give you the most general overview of the collection or archive. You can find this in the Collection Overview. Some collection guides on this website will also contain a hierarchical structure with item-level descriptions. Click Collection Inventory to scroll through the items.

Name records are the people, families, and organizations that create collections or archives, or are the subject of a collection. On this website, users can view name records to see all of the materials created by a person, family, or organization, or all the records that specifically concern a person, family or organization.

Subject records are topics, places, and genres used to describe the context and content of the materials. On this website, users can view a subject record to see all of the collections and archives relating to that topic, place, or genre.

Preferred citation
Use the Citation button to generate a formatted citation for the material you are viewing. Citations can be generated at all levels of a finding aid, including at the folder or item level.

Download PDF icon
Use the PDF button to access a fully formatted PDF of a collection guide, suitable for printing.

What if I have questions? Where should I go for help?

If you have questions about a collection guide or if you have a more general question, feel free to contact us.