or, search Yale Library holdings below:

Yale Library's Catalog

Yale Library's catalog; start here. Help | Search | Advanced

Yale Finding Aid Database

Finding aids for archival and manuscript materials. Help | Search | Advanced

Digital Collections

Thousands of partial and fully digitized items from a wide range of materials from the Beinecke collections. Help | Search | Advanced

Uncataloged Acquisitions

Brief records of material not found in Orbis or the Finding Aid Database. Help | Search

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

Descriptions of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Help | Search

Yale Papyrus Collection

Catalog of the papyri held at Beinecke; includes digital images. Help | Search
Services and tools available to support research

Library Catalogs & Databases

Unidentified man using card catalog in Beinecke Library.

Each of the catalogs and databases described below can help you locate and learn more about materials held in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Collection material is not necessarily indexed across all databases. For example, a single manuscript may appear in Orbis, Yale's Online Catalog, and not in the Yale Finding Aid Database, as not all archival collections have finding aids. Think of Orbis as the most comprehensive online catalog and the papyrus and medieval manuscript databases as the most specific.

ORBIS – Yale's Online Catalog

Virtually all of the Yale library system’s cataloged printed materials, as well as most of its cataloged manuscripts and archival collections can be found by searching Orbis. You may apply various limits (location, date, language, type of material) when searching. You’ll also find links to images in the digital library and descriptive finding aids for materials that have them available.

For tips on how to build searches in Orbis, click here.

Complex searches are most successful when you use the Advanced Search tab in Orbis, which lends more flexibility and offers more limits for more precision in searching. For tips on building searches using Advanced Search in Orbis, click here.

Yale Finding Aid Database

This database allows full-text searching of finding aids, or descriptive guides for archival and manuscript materials held in the Beinecke Library, Manuscripts and Archives (Sterling Memorial Library), Yale Divinity School Library, Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Visual Resources Collection. Finding aids provide information about the creation, historical context, arrangement, and content of specific archival and manuscript collections. These guides also provide the information necessary to identify and request relevant materials, such and box and folder numbers and format descriptions. Links to the digital library are provided when appropriate.

For tips on searching the Finding Aid Database, click here

What’s not in the Finding Aid Database? Most medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are indexed in a separate database, as are papyri held in the Beinecke collections.

Beinecke Digital Collections

This searchable database offers thousands of partial and fully digitized items from a wide range of materials from the Beinecke collections: photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, artwork, objects, illustrations, and selected pages from printed works. The majority of images are scans of original material. About 20,000 images are scanned images from the Beinecke's photonegative file, which contains negatives and color transparences of images selected for reproduction or study by patrons over the last twenty years. Data describing these images is brief in most cases, but generally includes a call number and subject or author.

For more on identifying primary sources and other discovery tools at Yale, please visit Primary Sources at Yale.

Cary Playing Cards

This database is a searchable catalog of the playing cards, card sheets, wood blocks, metal plates, ephemera, and prints held at Beinecke and includes digital images.  More information about the collection can be found here.

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

Search here for descriptions of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts based largely on the Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, edited by Barbara Shailor et al.

Uncataloged Acquisitions

Search here for brief records of material not found in Orbis or the Finding Aid Database. In general, materials indexed here were acquired from 1985 until the present, although the database includes some earlier acquisitions. Records for cataloged material are removed annually.

Yale Papyrus Collection

This database is a searchable catalog of the papyri held at Beinecke and includes digital images.  More information about the collection can be found here.


American Drawings

The American Drawings database contains information on more than 2200 original sketches, drawings and watercolors by Americans or about America. The information in the records was compiled by the staff of the Yale University Art Gallery's "American Drawings and Watercolors Project" in the mid-1980s. The database has not been added to since that time, but it represents the most complete survey of such material at Beinecke ever undertaken and includes information not found in ORBIS or the Yale Finding Aid Database. Patrons should consult with the library's curators and public services staff for assistance in finding material acquired since 1986.

Art Storage

The Art Storage database contains information on works of art stored within Beinecke Library facilities.  Many of these items are also found in ORBIS and some have been digitized and are available to view in the Beinecke Digital Collections database.


College Pamphlets

The College Pamphlet collection consists of approximately 2,197 volumes containing approximately 24,000 titles. In 1991 it was decided to disbind the volumes since it was believed that there was a high rate of duplication within the collection and with material classed elsewhere. George Miles, assisted by William Reese, reviewed all the volumes and identified those that should not be broken up due to their provenance. They also compiled a list of the provenance that needed to be traced for both bound and disbound titles. Students disbound the appropriate volumes, marking the call number and source on each title. Contents pages and selected covers were retained. Students entered the beginning of the title (disregarding initial articles) and the volume number into an Inmagic database. The disbound titles were arranged alphabetically by title followed by the bound volumes arranged by volume number.

Students then searched the College Pamphlets in order to identify duplicates that needed comparison. After completing titles that began A-Ch, it was decided that the number of duplicates actually discarded did not warrant the time being spent on searching and comparing. Instead it was decided to recatalog the College Pamphlet collection, and complete comparisons of titles for which we have more than three copies in the College Pamphlets collection. Approximately 7800 titles had records in Orbis at the beginning of the project. The quality of these records range from full level to minimal level.
Western Americana Prints

The Western American Prints database contains records for over 1000 individual prints from the Yale Collection of Western Americana. The records in the database provide the following information for individual prints: shelf location, name(s) of original artists, engravers, lithographers, and publishers associated with the print, titles, place and date of publication, form of print (e.g., lithographs, engravings, etc.), dimensions, brief subject descriptions and citations to standard reference bibliographic tools where useful. The information has, for the most part, been taken directly from the prints themselves and is not, as yet, subject to authority control to reconcile variant forms of personal and corporate names.


Western Americana StereocardsThe Western Americana Stereocards database contains records for over 2,000 photographs (ORBIS provides access to the stereo series but not individual cards.) Information in the records includes photographer, publisher, place of publication, series title, caption titles for individual cards, dimensions of the cards, a general description of their physical appearance, and shelf location. The information in the records has, for the most part, been taken directly from the cards so names of photographers and publishers will appear in various forms.
Western Americana FilmscriptsThe Western Americana Filmscripts database contains information about more than 430 Western movie scripts in the Yale Collection of Western Americana. The records include information about script titles, authors, the directors, producers, production companies, actors and distributors associated with the films, dates and settings as well as shelf locations. The script collection is described in ORBIS under the title "Western filmscript collection" (WA MSS S-1610), and a preliminary finding aid is available at Beinecke Library, but the database provides the ability to employ boolean search operators across fields of data to isolate relevant scripts.



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