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Quick Guide to Special Collections Resources

This guide is intended to be used by virtual and online classes to orient students to working with UTA Special Collections both virtually and in person.

UTA Special Collections Quick Facts


UTA Central Library (702 Planetarium Place), 6th Floor

Hours of Operation

Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Who is welcome?

EVERYONE! Students, staff, faculty, and members of the community are welcome to come in during our open hours.

What is UTA Special Collections?

Special Collections (or "SPCO") is the home to UTA's historical research materials. We collect, arrange, preserve, and make available materials that have research value in a variety of different fields. We also put on exhibits and special events. Feel free to come in to research or to browse!

What do we collect?

Materials from a variety of different topical areas. Our major collecting areas are:

  • Texas History - With a focus on North Texas and the Metroplex
  • Mexican History - We always say the Texas and Mexico are intertwined, and you can't tell the story of one without the other!
  • The U.S. - Mexico War - We have one of the most robust collections on this topic in the world
  • Texas Labor History - the history of unions and organized labor in Texas
  • Cartography and Cartographic History - Maps with a focus on Texas, but this collection covers the entire world!
  • UTA History - The history of our University and its predecessor institutions
  • Texas Disability History - Documenting the history of disability and disability rights in Texas
  • Photograph Collections - primarily related to Texas and DFW

When you say "Materials"...?

We mean any number of different formats, including (but not limited to):

  • Documents - like correspondence between family members, meeting minutes of a local group, case files of a Civil Rights organization
  • Photographic Materials - like print photographs, negatives, daguerreotypes
  • Maps - ranging from the 1490s to the 21st Century
  • Rare Books - both fiction and non-fiction, first editions, etc
  • Not-so-rare Books - we're a great source for secondary sources, too!
  • Broadsides - posters and prints
  • Microfilm - Texas newspapers, County records, Yucatan and Honduras government archives
  • Digital Files - things like the University website archives and other born-digital materials
  • Periodicals - newsletters, organization newspapers, etc
  • Many, many more!

How do I find out what you have?

Archival “Finding Aids” – written by archivists to explain what you might expect to find in a collection. These can be accessed on the Texas Archival Repository Online* (TARO).

  • Please note: When search TARO, you always have to put "University of Texas Arlington Library, Special Collections” in the Limit by repository box.
  • These guides contain information about the collection’s creators, a description of how the collection is arranged, and usually – a container list that will tell you the titles of folders and an idea for what is in them (ex: Correspondence – 1942)

UTA Libraries Catalog - The UTA Libraries' Search engine for all materials (digital and physical)

  • Use this to search all Library holdings
  • Note that when using this, you can enter a search term and then narrow it down to Special Collections by using the refine panel on the left side of the screen. 
    • Tip: Use "Library Location" to identify materials held in SPCO.
  • Use this guide for more information on searching the catalog: 

Ask an Archivist!

  • Email, or come see us during our open hours!

Is Anything Online?

YES! We have several digital collections with materials from SPCO. Keep in mind that these contain only a tiny sliver of what's available physically.

What do I need to do to get my hands on that cool stuff???

When you come to SPCO to research, we will have you sign in, set any bags, food, or drink down at the front, then get you registered as a researcher. Our staff and student employees will help you figure out some sources that would benefit your research. We only ask that you treat the materials carefully and with respect, and that you follow any specialized instructions we have to protect the materials!