How to Find Materials

Use the Library Catalog

Publications such as rare books, journals, and books can be found by searching the library's catalog

To search SCUA's holdings, you can limit the Search Scope to Special Collections.  While some manuscript and archival collections are in the general library catalog, it is best to search for those using CARDinal.  Some of our audiovisual materiasl can also be found in the library catalog by limiting Material Type to Audio Visual. 


CARDinal – Cyclone Archival Research Database

CARDinal is a keyword searchable database of all archival material available in SCUA. CARDinal allows for multiple methods of searching and browsing, and makes it easier to see the connections between related collections.  All finding aids previously found on the SCUA website can now be searched here, and all new collections will be added to CARDinal directly. For helpful searching tips, please check out our tutorials on YouTube.


Audiovisual Materials

Some of our videos have been digitized and uploaded to YouTube and Aviary. Others are listed in the finding aids for the collection they belong to. You can search inside CARDinal for terms such as "cassette tape," "video," or "film." You can also use the categories linked below to start your search. Once in the category, a simple ctrl+f search function will guide you to a specifc material on the page. Please be sure to review our policies for accessing our A/V materials. 

Notable audiovisual collections include:



Special Collections and University Archives collects a variety of three-dimensional items. Currently, there are about 3,500 items in the artifact collection dating from 1849 to the present. Examples of these objects include the death mask of Margaret Stanton (preceptress and wife of Edgar Stanton, class of 1872), a letter sweater, freshman beanies, the National Medal of Technology given to John Vincent Atanasoff, and numerous buttons and pins from various campus organizations and events. Work continues on rehousing, identifying, and describing each artifact in the collection. Information and digital images for each artifact are being entered into a database, which will allow better access to the objects. The most complete current list is the large catalog listing below, but we are continually adding to CARDinal, where artifacts are listed by type.

View our Catalog of Artifacts (PDF file -68 MB)

If you have any questions regarding the artifact collection, please contact Special Collections and University Archives.



Special Collections and University Archives maintains over 1,000,000 photographs, slides, and digital images. The majority of these images focus on the activities of faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Iowa State University. To see if we have photos for the topic you’re interested in, visit the photograph collections page. Only a selection of these collections are available online through Digital Collections, however nearly all of them may be viewed by visiting the Department.

Copies of images may be requested; see Image Reproduction for more information. Please allow 1-2 or more weeks forfulfillment of image requests.

To see if we have photos for the topic you're interested in, please visit the photograph collections page. This is also where you can view our slides collection.


Web Archives

Archive-It is a tool that captures and preserves web content in a way that enables you to visit old or outdated versions of webpages long after they have been taken down. Unlike mere screenshots, however, Archive-It crawls reconstruct the code of a website so that you can interact with its pages in a limited way. You may be able to view embedded content, for example, watch videos, or click on links that redirect you to other archived content, much like their active counterparts would. You can search the ISU Archive-It collections from the public web page, or you can reference a more detailed guide on searching Archive-It.

SCUA’s current web archiving initiatives center around capture of the official Iowa State University website and various subdomains thereof. However, we hope to expand our scope to external websites and social media feeds soon, so feel free to nominate relevant content for capture. Contact



In addition to searching in CARDinal, you can search the following indexes for other records

found in the University Archives.