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We love our researchers because they make our collections come to life in new and fascinating ways.

Identifying the right resources in Special Collections can be challenging. This information is meant to help researchers find appropriate materials. Our libguide provides a complete explanation of our collections and how to search them.

how to start your search

StyleCat, the FIT Library online catalog, allows you to search holdings by subject, keyword, title, author, etc. Some of our holdings' records are linked to finding aids which will provide more detail about what a specific collection contains. If searching catalogs is new for you, ask a Reference Librarian or a Special Collections Associate for help or use Stylecat Help.

A finding aid is a text document providing a description of the contents of a collection, just like a table of contents outlines the contents of a book. Using a finding aid can provide an understanding of a collection in its entirety, relationships between its component parts, and help you locate the portions of a collection pertinent to your inquiry. If a finding aid is available for a given collection StyleCat will offer a link providing detailed information.

SPARC Connect is our collection's discovery platform that allows you to search across collections. It is not yet comprehensive, but we are adding more collections information all the time.

You may want to contact a Special Collections Associate to assist you with your search. After you have examined the catalog, finding aids, and website, call or email to confirm your findings and conclusions. Tell us about your research project and intent. If you find specific materials that seem particularly important during your search, write down the titles and call numbers from those materials and share them with the staff. We can help to clarify what materials are held at the repository in order to set up an appointment that is most beneficial to your project's needs.

make an appointment

Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. To schedule an appointment contact us at or call (212) 217-4385. For our appointment times and directions view our visit page. Researchers are permitted to view 3 linear feet of material per visit. Please contact us at least 24 hours before you would like to conduct your research. In the event you need to cancel or delay your appointment we ask that you inform us as soon as possible.

citing material from our collections

The boilerplate format for creating citations for material from our collections is:

[Resource title], [date or date range], [relevant unit(s) details], Fashion Institute of Technology | SUNY, FIT Library Special Collections and College Archives, New York, NY, USA.

View this citation guide for examples (.pdf).

Reading Room Guidelines

We maintain a closed stacks reading room for access to the Special Collections and College Archives materials. All materials are paged prior to your visit: this means materials are retrieved for researchers to view in the reading room and that all material is non-circulating. The wide range of primary research sources housed in Special Collections are often rare, fragile, and valuable. To protect these collections the following prohibitions are enforced during researcher visits:

  • No pens or markers. We are happy to provide pencils.
  • No food, beverages (including water), or gum.
  • Photography is permitted but requires a completed Permission to Reproduce form.
  • Only laptops and digital cameras are allowed for use in the Reading Room; your other belongings will be sequestered during your visit.
  • Please bring a valid photo ID.
  • Please silence all of your mobile devices.

A Short List of Links We Find Helpful

Researching Archives & Primary Resources:

Copyright Help: