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Special Collections & University Archives: FAQs

Welcome to our LibGuide! Use the pages here to learn more about our department and research collections.

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page!

This page is intended as a guide to address frequently asked questions. Please browse the guide or visit our website for more information.

What is UTRGV Special Collections & Archives?

Special Collections & Archives is here to help you learn more about the history and culture of the lower Rio Grande Valley region. Our special collections focus on the heritage of deep south Texas and northeast Mexico, as well as those of state, national, and international interest. 

  • UTRGV's Special Collections collect and make accessible to researchers secondary source (books and publications) and primary (original) source materials such as correspondence, business files, maps, and photographs from local people and businesses.
  • Our collections include over 25,000 books, 450+ Chicano serials, 1100+ maps, several local newspapers and newsletters, and an estimated one million archival items across our two locations in Brownsville and Edinburg.
  • We are also the repository for the University and its legacy institutions, dating back to 1926 in Brownsville and 1927 in Edinburg.
  • Visit our website for more information on our department's mission, services, and collections.

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Where is UTRGV Special Collections & Archives located?

Special Collections & Archives has reading rooms in Brownsville and Edinburg.

Please contact us for information on campus visits:

University Library, Brownsville (BLIBR 2.202)
One West University Boulevard
Brownsville, Texas 78520
(956) 882-7968

University Library, Edinburg (ELIBR 4.100)
1201 W University Drive
Edinburg, TX 78539
(956) 665-2726

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Who can use Special Collections & Archives?

  • UTRGV students and faculty are welcome to use our reading rooms for Quiet Study (M–F, 8AM–5PM).
  • Everyone is welcome to submit research inquiries online via:
  • Campus research visits are conducted by appointment only. All researchers are encouraged to schedule research visits at one to two weeks in advance.
  • Our items are unique and most cannot be replaced if damaged, lost, or stolen. Materials must be used in the reading room only, but scanning of materials may be available upon request.
  • Books and materials are generally not transferred between campuses.

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How can I access scanned special collections materials and digitized archival resources online?

Special Collections & University Archives make materials available online via our ScholarWorks Institutional Repository, ScholarWorks Digital Exhibits and UTRGV Omeka Exhibits. Resources on these platforms can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection, and are keyword searchable.

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How do I cite materials from your collections in my research?

The Library does not own the copyright in much of the material in its collection and is therefore unable to grant copyright permission to publish those items. It is the researcher's responsibility to determine copyright and other possible restrictions on reuse (e.g. publicity, privacy, moral rights) and to obtain proper permission when publishing or distributing materials found in these collections. Click here for more information on digital collections rights and use

As a courtesy, we request that whenever quoting material from our collection you cite us as the source of the material as follows:
[Title of Collection]; [item description], [dates]. [Number of Collection], Box [#], Folder [#], [name of item, e.g. Photograph of McAllen, 1951]. University Library, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, [Edinburg or Brownsville], Texas. 

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Can I reproduce or publish materials from your collections?

The UTRGV Digital Collections help fulfill UTRGV's educational mission. Materials found in these collections are either in the public domain, are made available by permission, or are permitted by an exception such as fair use. Although these materials are publicly accessible, some restrictions on further use may still apply. Permitted uses are limited to research, educational, and scholarly purposes.

If you have any information about an item you've seen in our digital collections, or if you are the copyright owner and believe your work is not properly attributed or is used without proper authorization, please let us know. Send your inquiries to including your contact information and a link to relevant content.

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I am an alumnus/alumna. How can I access old course catalogs and degree plans?

Good news! You can access older course catalogs from our legacy institutions online.

UTRGV Course Catalogs

Older Course Catalogs (legacy institutions)

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How can I access a published thesis or dissertation?

Search ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global for recent dissertations and theses. If you are off campus, then you may need to login using your UTRGV credentials to access this online database.

Search our Library Catalog for older dissertations and theses by title, author or key word. Dissertations and theses are located on the 2nd floor of the libraries in Brownsville and Edinburg. Titles archived with Special Collections & Archives are on permanent reserve and cannot be checked out.

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Can I donate to Special Collections & Archives?

UTRGV University Library Special Collections and Archives does not accept unsolicited donations of books or materials.

Click here to learn more.

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Do you provide digitization services for legacy media formats like VHS, Beta, cassettes, etc?

We do not provide digitization services for non-library or non-collection materials. Please consider finding a third-party vendor for services.

For example:

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Quick Links

Get Research Assistance!

Submit an Online Research Request Form

Maximize your time and effort. Let our staff assist you with finding and accessing resources online.

Schedule a Research Appointment (On Campus or Online)

We also invite you to schedule an appointment to meet one-on-one with a member of our Special Collections & Archives staff. Schedule an on-campus research visit or choose to meet online (video chat).