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Special Collections & University Archives: FAQs

This is the webpage for UTRGV Special Collections & University Archives.

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?

  • UTRGV's Special Collections & Archives collect and make accessible to researchers primary source (original) materials such as correspondence, business files, maps, and photographs from local people and businesses which illustrate the history of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Northeastern Mexico.
  • Our collections consist of over 25,000 books, newspapers, and journals, and over an estimated one million archival items across our two locations in Brownsville and Edinburg.
  • We are also the repository for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Archives, and as such we steward the output of the university and its legacy institutions, including its publications, research, correspondence, and related publicity.
  • Visit our website for more information on our department's mission, services, and collections.

Who can use Special Collections & Archives?

  • All are welcome to utilize Special Collections & Archives, including UTRGV and TSC students, faculty and staff, as well as members of our local genealogy and broader research community. Submit your inquiry online via:
  • Our items are unique and many cannot be replaced if damaged, lost, or stolen. It is our goal to secure materials and ensure access for future researchers. Please read our Guidelines for User Access for more information.
  • Books may be transferred between campuses on a limited basis for the convenience of our researchers. However, researchers should plan to visit the campus which houses specific archival collections and materials, as they will not be transferred between campuses. All researchers are encouraged to schedule research visits at least two weeks in advance.

Do you have any resources scanned and available online?

YES! Special Collections & University Archives have our materials on two platforms: UTRGV's Digital Collections and UTRGV's ScholarWorks Institutional Repository. Resources on these platforms can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection, and are keyword searchable.

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. 

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 the relevant content.

Donations are currently not accepted.

The University Library is currently not accepting books, materials, or collections to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Alternatively, donors may wish to consider a monetary donation to the library, or another area of greatest need.