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Special Collections Center: Research

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Cheri Marks (she, her) MFA, MSI
Special Collections Curator and Archivist 

941- 359-7583

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Search the Library Catalog

Advanced Search

How to Search the Catalog for Special Collections Items

Start your Search at the library website ( or in the widget above. You can do a quick search by changing the drop-down selection to Special Collections, keying in your search terms, then clicking Search. To see more search options and open the Primo interface, click on Advanced Search.

From here you have several options: 

  • You can search by Any field, Title, Author/Creator, Subject, etc. and select the radio button for Special Collections before you enter Search.
    • Tip: Once you find a title that interests you from the list of results, click on that item to see more details. Take a note of what keywords and subject headings are used to describe the item. These can give you ideas for future searches.

Primo Advanced Search

  • If you'd like to see a list of all our artists' books, simply type in artists books specimens, select the search by Subject option and select is (exact) from the drop down menu.
  • If you'd like to see a list of all of our special collections materials, type in spcol as an Any field keyword search.
    • ​Tip: Use the Sort By feature and other limiters in the left column to manage the results
  • If you'd like to search within our artists' book collection only, click on the Advanced Search button in the catalog. In the first text field type artists books specimens and select Subject and is (exact). Use the text fields below to combine additional terms relevant to your topic with the operators AND, OR, or NOT. Click Search.
    • Example: artists books specimens [Subject] AND moon [Any field]
    • Tip: You can add search terms for printing methods, materials used, binding type, etc.
  • You can also do other types of complex searches using the Advanced Search in the catalog. If you want to find books of poetry for example, do an Any field search for poem* combined with the Boolean operator OR plus poet* to retrieve all the items that contain a variant of those words, e.g. poem, poems, poet, poetry.
    • ​Example: poem* OR poet*
    • Tip: Use the asterisk to truncate any term.

How to Browse the Catalog for Special Collections Items

Start from the library website ( or the widget above. Open the Primo interface by leaving the search field blank and clicking on Search or Advanced Search. From here you'll see a row of green buttons at the top of the screen. Click on Collection Discovery, then locate and click on the collection for Special Collections.

Primo Collection Discovery

You can browse all Special Collections titles by scrolling below the Sub-collections. The order of items automatically lists what has been most recently added to the library catalog first. You can also scroll back up to change the sort options to show items by Date-newest [publication date], Date-oldest [publication date], Title, and Author. From here you can also search within all Special Collections.

Primo Special Collections Sub-Collections

You can also browse Special Collections by opening any of the sub-collections for Artists' Books, Broadsides & Posters, Exhibition Catalogs & Printed Matter, Facsimile Editions, Illustrated Books, Miniature Books, Optical Toys, Periodicals, Photobooks, Pop-Up Books, Prints & Engravings, and Zines. Hover over any sub-collection to see a brief description of the items in that collection.

Once you open a sub-collection, you can view items in a grid or gallery. You can sort items and search within a specific sub-collection here as well.

Primo Artists' Books Subcollection