Digital Collections — Help

General Help

If I need a copy of something that is not online, what are my options?

You may visit the library to see the materials first hand. If there are no restrictions on the items in question, we may be able to make photocopies and send them to you.

How do I cite online materials?

Documents that have been digitized and made available online may be cited by their persistent URL (found above the document being viewed, or in the More Information window).

Example: Citation from a journal article found in Herbert Simon's digital collection:

Herbert A. Simon, "A Mechanism for Social Selection and Successful Altruism," Science (1990):250,

I would like to use an image for a publication. How do I make my request?

Please contact the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries with your requests — we will be able to tell you what images are available and how to go about getting what you need. Please note: there may be fees associated with both reproduction of images and publication of those images. An estimate can be assessed for your particular order.

Fair Use Statement

Carnegie Mellon University Libraries have made a best faith effort to assess our responsibilities and risks related to the copyright status of all of the items in our collections, and to make those items available in alignment with best practices as established by information science professionals. Our intention is to make content available for use in research, teaching, and private study. We are always willing to discuss copyright concerns with a rights holder who finds his or her content in our collections.

For more information see that ARL Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Academic and Research Libraries:

Using the Collections


  • Selecting fewer collections in an Advanced search may display results quicker.
  • Use quotes to search for full phrases in the Keywords field.
  • The Persistent Link for the document you are viewing will be displayed above the document. This is the address that should be used for bookmarks and citations.
  • Because some scanned images are from older, discolored paper, it may be difficult to see the text highlighting on some pages.
  • An easy way to print multiple pages is to open the full PDF by clicking the Show Document button, right-click on the document once it loads in a new window, and select Print... from the menu that pops up. Then you can enter the range of pages you would like to print in the Pages area.


These digital collections have been scanned using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology that provides full-text searching capabilities. This allows users to search through all of the digitized documents for specific words and phrases. On the main menu at the top of the page click the Search Collections option. From here you have the option of performing a basic or advanced search.

Basic Search

A Basic Search can be performed using keywords. Use quotes to search for specific phrases (ex. "Artificial Intelligence"). All text and item descriptions will be searched, providing results based on relevance by default.

Twenty-five results are presented per page and can be displayed according to one of the four display options ( columns, rows, thumbnails or thumbnail rows) found at the top of the page. In order to browse through each page of results, use the page numbers or arrows found at the top of the page.

Advanced Search

From the regular search page, click on Advanced Search to use an alternate search interface. Here you can select which Collection(s) to search, what to Sort by, and how to View results.


If you select Browse Collections from the main menu, a list of all the digital collections will be displayed, with a description of each collection. Use the Toggle View icon at the top of the page in order to change how the collections are displayed.

When browsing archival collections (ex. CMNH Archives, Senator H. John Heinz III Collection, Allen Newell Collection, Joseph F. Traub Collection), you can browse through the hierarchical arrangement of each collection according to series, subseries (etc.), folder, and item. As you navigate this hierarchy, it is within specific folders that digitized items can be found.

Journals/periodicals (ex. Carnegie Alumnus, Faculty Bulletin Collection) will usually be arranged by year. Some book collections (ex. Historic Costumes Collection) are arranged alphabetically by default.

Note: Some collections feature their own Web site (Chicago Portage, Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Collection, Posner Collection). Search and browse options may very according to the collection.


After locating a document that you would like to view by either browsing or searching, click the item's title. The selected document will be presented, usually in PDF format.

Words or phrases that were used to search will be highlighted within the document. However, once the document is displayed as a PDF, different words and phrases can always be searched within the document using the PDF reader's Find box, usually in the upper right. (If you cannot see the box, try clicking on the document then hitting [ctrl+f] on the keyboard.)

Above the PDF document are a number of options for viewing. The blue up and down arrows will allow you to scroll page to page. The Previous Hit and Next Hit buttons will take you to the previous/next page of the document on which your search terms are found, skipping pages that do not match your search.

At the top right hand side of the page are other useful icons. Clicking the Show Document icon will open the full document in a separate window, allowing you to scroll through its pages. The More Information icon will provide metadata and additional information pertinent to the document. You can also find the document's Persistent Link there, which is the link that should be used for bookmarks and citations. Just to the left of these icons are arrows which allow you to move to additional documents matching your search criteria, or in the collection you are browsing.

For technical problems or questions and comments, please contact:
Julia Corrin
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries