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The Harold and Mary Jean Hanson Rare Book Collection: Handling Tips

A guide to the holdings of UF's Rare Book Collection with tips for conducting research in similar collections

Handling Special Collections Materials

Video Tutorial

This video covers the basics of handling material in special collections, on your own or as part of a class.

Helpful Hints

Keep your Space and Hands Clean

Make sure to set up your work area so that you have room to move around, turn pages, and write without the risk of knocking into collections materials (or the cords of your equipment). Clean, dry hands are the best way to interact with most of the materials in the collections, but if you request something that is more sensitive to the oils on your hands (like photographs) gloves will be provided to you.

Support Your Materials

Use a foam or fabric rest to support the spines of large or heavy books when turning the pages, and don't open them past the point that you feel resistance from the book.

Take Your Time

Everything about using older materials--from reading the text to turning the pages--can take more time than using circulating books. Make sure that you give yourself time to remember how parts of materials fold, unfold, or go back into their boxes. You can always leave materials on hold to return to at a later date. 

Ask for Help

If you're unsure of how to handle an item in the reading room, notice any loose parts or pages, or have a question about an item's condition, please let our reading room staff know. We'll help you find the best way to get to the parts that you need, and can help you with obtaining images for your future reference.


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