Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQ are designed to help you learn more about planning your visit and conducting research in Special Collections.

If you are interested in finding materials on any topic relating to Chattanooga, the Tennessee Valley, or the University, we encourage you to begin by searching the following resources:

If you are unable to find the information you need and want to ensure you are not missing any potential resources, use our Ask an Archivist service to send a detailed description of your research need to Special Collections. Include relevant dates, locations, names, and formats desired. An archivist or librarian in Special Collections will respond to your request for information within 3 business days.

Plan Your Visit

Yes! We request that you Make an Appointment after reviewing our Finding Aids and Searching Rare Books in order to identify materials that support your research needs. This allows us to pre-pull materials before you visit and help you identify other sources to review.

Due to the rarity, condition, and value of our collections and books, they do not circulate but may be accessed in our reading room.

In order to preserve our unique collections for future generations, eating, drinking, and use of tobacco products are strictly prohibited.

Yes! we encourage all of our researchers to bring their laptops. UTC students, faculty, and staff may check out laptops at the UTC Library Check Out Desk.

Campus wireless access for personal devices is administered through the UTC Information Technology Division and is available to current UTC students, staff and faculty. More information, including details about using eduroam is available on Wireless Networks at UTC. If you have any questions, please contact the UTC Computer Help Desk at (423) 425-4000.

Visiting scholars are encouraged to use eduroam, a secure, world-wide WiFi service intended for education and research communities. Check with your home institution to see if this is an option for you before visiting Special Collections.

Onsite researchers may use cameras, phones, tablets and other equipment to photograph material for study purposes. Portable scanners and other digital imaging equipment must be approved by our staff prior to use. Cameras are available for check out by UTC students, faculty, and staff from the Library's Studio

Of course! We welcome all researchers. View our Hours and Location for more information about visiting us, including directions and parking information.

Distance Researchers

Special Collections offers one hour of research and reference services to distance researchers. In-depth research requires a personal visit. If you are not able to visit Special Collections to conduct research in person, you may consider hiring a student or professional who can conduct research on your behalf. Researchers are encouraged to use digital cameras, scanning apps, and other tools to make copies of our resources for personal use.

Yes. Upon request, Special Collections may recommend a UTC student to perform research on your behalf. These researchers are not employed by or accredited by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Special Collections is not able to answer questions about their availability, services, or charges.

Copy Requests

Special Collections will make up to 25 digital copies of documents, items, or pages from our collections for your personal research use.

You are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of any materials you may wish to use, to investigate the owner of the copyright, and to obtain permission for your intended use. More information regarding your rights and responsibilities is available on Permissions and Copyright. 

Once your digital copies are ready, we will send you a link from which you will be able to download copies to your own computer.

We do not provide print copy services.

Search Finding Aids

Finding aids are detailed inventories, registers, indexes, and guides to describe collections of primary source materials. They provide a comprehensive overview of a collection's scope and contents. Additionally, they define the conditions under which a collection may be accessed or copied, explain its provenance, and contain histories of individuals and organizations connected with the collection.

You should use our Finding Aids to identify which files or items in a collection will be most useful. Be sure to record the Physical Storage Information for the material you would like to see, and ask staff in Special Collections to pull the box for you to enjoy in our reading room using our Make an Appointment form. For example, if you wanted to view the Chickamauga Dam and Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge correspondence and records from the Marilyn Lloyd papers collection, you would request box MS-025 053.

Visit our finding aids. Enter search terms, conduct an advanced search, or browse by collection title, subject, or name.

Record the corresponding Physical Storage Information for the material you would like to see, and ask staff in Special Collections to pull the box for you to enjoy in our reading room using our Make an Appointment form. For example, if you wanted to view the Chickamauga Dam and Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge correspondence and records from the Marilyn Lloyd papers collection, you would request box MS-025 053.

dentify Physical Storage Information in finding aids for materials you would like to conduct research with in Special Collections.

Like most archival repositories, we have a backlog of unprocessed collections that are not described in a finding aid. We have finding aids for many of our collections, and we are striving to have all of our finding aids online as soon as possible. If you are conducting research on topics related to the University Archives or Chattanooga History Collections, and are unable to find relevant content in our Rare Books, Digital Collections, CHC Online, or Finding Aids, use our Ask an Archivist service to inquire if we have materials related to your research topic.

Chattanooga History Collections

The Chattanooga History Collections (CHC) are the former collections of the Chattanooga History Center. Following the closing of the History Center in June 2017, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and the Chattanooga Public Library assumed joint ownership of these collections.

Yes! Materials in the Chattanooga History Collections are accessed upon request. It is your responsibility to thoroughly research our online discovery systems for relevant holdings. Begin by searching the following resources:

If you are unable to find the information you need and want to ensure you are not missing any potential resources, use our Ask an Archivist service to send a detailed description of your research need to Special Collections. Include relevant dates, locations, names, and formats desired. An archivist or librarian in Special Collections will respond to your request for information within 3 business days.

Due to the rarity, condition, and value of materials in the Chattanooga History Collections, they do not circulate but may be accessed in our reading room.

Unfortunately, there is no history museum. Materials from the Chattanooga History Collections are periodically displayed in the George Conor Special Collections Reading Room (LIB 439) and Andrew Roth Grand Reading Room (LIB 402). Materials may also be displayed in the Local History and Genealogy department of the Chattanooga Public Library.

The Chattanooga History Collections consist only of the former holdings of the History Center. Special Collections considers donations that meet the standards outlined in our Collection Development policy. More information on the process for gifts and donations may be found on our Gifts and Donations page. 

 University Archives

If you are searching for a photograph or image relating to the University, begin with our Digital Collections. Conduct an Advanced Search of all collections that begin with either "University of Tennessee at Chattanooga" or "University of Chattanooga" and supply a keyword or phrase that pertains to your subject. You can find instructions for conducting an Advanced Search on the UTC Digital Collections research guide.

If you are unable to find any images pertaining to your search in Digital Collections, use our Ask an Archivist service. As you describe your question on the form, please state that you have already searched our Digital Collections. After submitting the form, a Special Collections staff member will consult our internal inventories and physical holdings of University photographs and respond to your inquiry.

At present the only university administrative records available for full-text searching online are the University of Chattanooga Board Trustees Minutes in our Digital Collections. For all other requests please use our Ask an Archivist service and describe the nature of your question in as much detail as possible. A Special Collections staff member will consult our internal inventories and respond to you within three business days.

For questions regarding the transfer of University Records, please use our Ask an Archivist service, stating the date coverage, type, and quantity of records. A Special Collections staff member will follow up with you about the possibility of a records transfer. Please note that all records transfers must meet the standards in our Collection Development policy.