Catalogs and Guides | Newberry

Catalogs and Guides

The Newberry actively collects and preserves books, manuscripts, maps, and other printed materials related to the history and culture of Western Europe and the Americas. Most of the Newberry’s materials are housed in a climate-controlled stacks facility adjacent to the main library building, and are retrieved by staff upon request. Researchers will need to consult catalogs and guides to locate materials relevant to their research.

Newberry Online Catalog

The Newberry’s Online Catalog is the primary tool for identifying and locating resources relevant to your research. Books, manuscripts, maps, and periodicals are listed in this catalog. You can search the catalog using two different interfaces:

Classic Catalog

  • Best option for searching for known items
  • Records display rich bibliographic information on items on the first screen
  • Allows search limits (date, location, language) prior to searching
  • Searches only the Newberry catalog


  • Best option for discovery and narrowing search results
  • Requires you to request “More Details” for bibliographic data
  • Allows you to refine search by date, language, location on your results screen
  • Searches either the Newberry catalog or the I-Share catalog
  • Offers access to EBL eBooks

There are some materials that are not represented in the online catalog, and these can be found using other online tools and print catalogs. For example, most of the Newberry’s city directories are not in the online catalog, but a list of directories is available online in our Research Guides. Similarly, pre-1500 manuscript codices are not always included in the online catalog, but these are described in a print catalog.

The items represented in the Newberry’s online catalog are also included in I-Share, the catalog for the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI). They are also included in the free and subscription versions of OCLC’s WorldCat.

Online Tools and Guides

Modern Manuscripts

Search or Browse all Modern Manuscript Collection Abstracts (summary descriptions of almost all collections, often with links to more detailed online inventories and collection-level catalog records).

Search across the online inventories and catalog records of many Modern Manuscript Collections via ArchiveGrid (the best way to conduct an in-depth search of collection content).

Search for Modern Manuscripts in the Online Catalog (catalog records describing individual manuscript items or collections, often with links to more detailed online inventories).

Journal Search

The Newberry has implemented a link resolver called SFX to assist you with locating electronic journal articles. We have provided SFX with information about our Databases and our collections of periodicals so that it “knows” when an item is available electronically or in print in the library’s collections. Catalog records in the Newberry Online Catalog provide a link to an SFX menu, which will tell you whether or not a journal can be accessed through the Newberry’s subscription databases. You can also search the SFX database to discover whether or not we provide electronic access to a journal of interest to you. Additional information on using SFX to locate electronic resources is available in Research Guides. Please note that you must be in the Newberry Library building to access our subscription databases.

Research Guides

Newberry librarians have compiled bibliographies, checklists, links to articles about our holdings, and other research guides to assist you with locating information in our collections. Browse our Research Guides alphabetically or by topic.

Other Online Resources

Online resources at the Newberry also provide access to materials in our collections. You may find useful information in our Digital Resources, our Research Guides, and Databases.

Digital images of selected Newberry materials may also be viewed on the CARLI Digital Collections website, run by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. Some Newberry holdings (primarily materials related to Chicago ethnic groups, clubs, professional groups, and religious congregations) are available in full-text on the Internet Archive. A few of our city directories have been digitized, and these are freely available online in our Chicago Ancestors website.

Newberry Print Catalogs

The checklist section in the Reference Center on the third floor holds a number of printed guides and finding aids to the library’s collections. Multi-volume sets catalog the Ayer, Wing, Graff, and Greenlee collections, and single-volume checklists detail the library’s medieval and modern manuscripts and numerous other topics. Descriptions of the Research Collections of the Newberry Library: A Bibliography is an extensive, though dated, description of Newberry holdings.

Some of the Newberry’s holdings are best described in these print tools. For example, only a small portion of our pre-1500 European manuscript books are described in the Newberry Online Catalog. To locate these, search Paul Saenger’s Catalogue of the Pre-1500 Western Manuscript Books at the Newberry Library (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989).

The Newberry’s card catalog is located in the Reference Center on the third floor. In the card catalog, books and other materials acquired and cataloged before 1978 are interfiled by author, title, and subject headings. The catalog also contains a number of special files, including place of publication and chronology files. These files are incomplete and represent only a portion of our holdings. Shelf lists for the General Collection (this shelf list is located on the third floor) and the Special Collections (this shelf list is located on the fourth floor) provide for virtual browsing of the stacks.

The Newberry welcomes reference inquiries by mail, email, and telephone. Please Contact a Librarian with any questions or concerns regarding our collections, catalogs, or guides.