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 Research Guide provides a complete explanation of our collections.

Starting Your Search


OneSearch, 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 OneSearch Help.


While our periodical holdings are listed in OneSearch, our Periodicals Index provides direct information about what titles are in our collection, and what years we hold. To let us know which periodicals you would like to see during your visit, we need to know the publication's call number and the years you need. 

Finding Aids

A finding aid is a text document providing a description of the contents of a collection, similar to how 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 study. If a finding aid is available for a given collection OneSearch will offer a link providing detailed information.

SPARC Connect

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.

Still Need Help?

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 us at (212) 217-4385 or email us at [email protected] 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.

Note that SPARC's holdings include very little in the way of textiles, clothing, accessories, and objects. We have a few, but the bulk of our holdings include rare books, serials, manuscripts, scrapbooks, documents, sketches, videos, recordings, and born-digital materials. For research of FIT's clothing collection, please reach out to our sister organization, the Museum at FIT

Make an Appointment

Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, for a list of our appointment times, and to get directions, please view our visit page

Citing Materials from Our Collection

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. Closed stacks means that all materials are paged (or retrieved) for all researchers prior to their visit, and that they cannot peruse the stacks while they're here. The wide range of primary research sources housed in Special Collections are often rare, fragile, and valuable. To protect these collections the following restrictions are enforced during researcher visits:

  • No pens, mechanical pencils, 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: