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Researching at the 5th Floor Special Research Collections


Onsite Researchers:  Walk-Ins as well as appointments are accepted for the viewing of materials in the 5th Floor Reading Room. Requesting materials in advance and/or booking an appointment are recommended. Please request a Consultation with a librarian prior to visiting the Collections if you have questions about our holdings or procedures. 

All readers are required to complete an annual Reader Registration Form and provide acceptable photo identification upon request.  We will do our best to have requested materials ready, but some items may only be available with 24-48 hours notice.

How to Request Materials

  • Visit the Research Desk outside the Reading Room to request items in person
  • Request items via link in Local Catalog record on OU Libraries website
  • Use the online booking system to make an appointment and include item info on the form
  • Send a request through the 5th Floor Special Research Collections Contact Form

Visiting Researchers & Virtual Assistance: Researchers are welcome to Contact us to discuss Collections holdings relevant to their research, the planning of a research visit, and online/virtual access options. The History of Science Department and the History of Science Collections provide support each year to researchers through the Mellon Travel Fellowship Program

Location:  Access to the materials held in the 5th Floor Special Collections is provided through the Reading Room on the 5th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library on the Norman campus of the University of Oklahoma. This includes the following collections: Harry W. Bass Business History Collection, History of Science Collections, John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections and the William Bennett Bizzell Bible Collection. View campus map.

Parking: The Oklahoma Memorial Union parking garage is located to the northeast of Monnet Hall, on Asp Avenue. See Parking Services for other campus parking options or to request a visitor parking pass online.



Viewing Materials in the Reading Room:  Since the 5th Floor Special Research Collections has closed stacks, all books, papers, and artifacts are viewed in the Duane H. D. Roller Reading Room. The Reading Room also serves patrons viewing "in-library use" items and items from other campus collections and off-site storage. Please notify the staff if you want to bring personal copies of books or materials from the 5th Floor Reading Nook (Browsable Collection) into the Reading Room.

Number of Items to be Viewed & Hours: The curators will typically limit the quantity of books and manuscript materials made available in the reading room to five books or four document cases at a time (with one document case on a desk at a time, and only one folder is to be removed from a document case at a time). Readers should begin preparations for finishing their work soon after 4:30pm to allow the staff to close by 4:45pm.

Personal Belongings: Briefcases, books from outside the collections, backpacks, coats, wraps, purses, and other personal articles can be stored at the front desk upon arrival.  

Conduct: Researchers are not allowed to eat, drink, or smoke in the Reading Room. Cell phones must be set to “Silent” and be used only outside the Reading Room. Loud talking or other activity which may disturb other researchers is also prohibited.

Pets: Registered service animals are permitted in the Reading Room.

Responsibility for Materials: Researchers acknowledge the receipt of all materials used by their signature on the Researcher Registration Form and are responsible for all materials delivered to them until they are removed from the Reading Room by a staff member. Researchers shall not remove collections' materials from the Reading Room. Researchers shall, on request, present for inspection on leaving the reading room, any package, envelope, or other article which could contain materials furnished for researcher use.

Care & Handling of Materials:  Researchers shall exercise all possible care to prevent damage to materials. The use of materials of exceptional value or in fragile condition may be subject to additional conditions as specified by the curators. Instruction on handling rare materials will be provided prior to delivery of items, per Curator discretion.

  • Wash hands prior to entering Reading Room
  • Researchers may use only pencils in the reading room (pens, highlighters, or "rubber fingers" are not permitted).
  • Materials shall not be written on, leaned on, folded anew, traced, fastened with rubber bands or metal paper clips, or handled in any other way likely to cause damage.
  • Adhesive notes may not be attached to original materials.
  • Researchers shall immediately notify a staff member should damage of any kind occur to any materials. Under no circumstances shall a researcher attempt to repair damage.
  • Researchers shall keep unbound materials in the order in which they are delivered and filed. Researchers shall not rearrange materials appearing to be disordered, but shall notify the curators about the condition.
  • Archival quality bookmarks and book snakes (ropes) are available for use.

Additional Researcher Info

Digital Alternatives: The staff will suggest alternatives to the use of original materials when appropriate.
Research Assistance Policy: Special Research Collections staff members make every effort to assist researchers, but extensive research projects cannot be undertaken. Staff members do not interpret information contained in the materials. Requests for information by telephone, mail or through online forms are handled as time and circumstances permit.
Limitations to Access: Use of certain published materials and manuscripts is restricted by law, by reason of their origin, or by donor agreement. For the protection of its holdings, the staff reserves the right to restrict the use of unprocessed materials, or books and documents of exceptional value and fragility. Use of any material is subject to the approval of the curators. See here for copy policies.
Recommended Citation: For citations in published or unpublished papers, this repository should be listed in the following format, inserting the name of the appropriate collection: [Name of Collection], University of Oklahoma Libraries, Norman, Oklahoma. Example: History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries, Norman, Oklahoma. Collections of papers or archives should also include the name of the manuscript or archives collection, along with the box and folder number. Example: John Doe Collection, Box 5, Folder 2. Bass Business History Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries, Norman, Oklahoma.