The Library’s collections are an indispensable resource for the Museum’s research, exhibit development and educational programs.
The Library’s holdings include over 275,000 volumes of books and journals, along with significant special collections of archives, manuscripts, photo archives and original natural history illustrations. The strengths of the Library collections closely parallel the strengths of the Museum’s scientific collections in the fields of anthropology, botany, geology, paleontology and zoology. The collections emphasize biological systematics, evolutionary biology, geology, archaeology, ethnology and material culture.
There are several tools available to discover more about the Library's collections and other electronic content.
WorldCat Online Catalog
The online catalog contains bibliographic records for the books and journals in the Library's general and rare book collections as well as collections throughout the world.
The largest free collection of scholarly journals Tables of Contents (TOCs)
Guides, Bibliographies & Brief Articles
It is important to note that all print journals in The Field Museum Library's collection are fully cataloged, with each title having a unique call number classification. Titles can be searched in the online catalog, WorldCat.
As an additional resource for locating titles in the print collection, please see the list of titles available in the Library's collection. As the Library has canceled subscriptions in recent years, this list is no longer current, and we may no longer receive many of the titles listed. The best place to locate exact holdings information is still via the online catalog (as stated above) or by simply checking the physical location.
The print collections of The Field Museum Library are located in various locations throughout the building.
The general circulating collection is located in 9 different stack areas throughout the building. Adjacent to the reading room in rooms 3210 & 3206 are the "Main" collection that include the subject areas of: History, Geography, Museum Studies, Anthropology and the general periodicals in science, natural history and zoology.
There are 8 departmental/divisional collections located near the departments they primarily serve. They are: Botany, Geology, & the 6 divisions of Zoology (Birds, Mammals, Insects, Invertebrates, Fishes, Amphibians & Reptiles). While these collections are not housed among the main library collection, they are still maintained by library staff. See associated file below to locate the call number ranges for each collection.
Here are more collection locations (with descriptions) that you will find on our online catalog:
- The Reference collection is located in the main reading room. It includes: foreign languge dictionaries, oversized atlases and encyclopedias. These materials are non-circulating.
- This collection is located in the Director's office. It includes: Field Museum publications, exhibition guides and published materials specifically pertaining to museum history and collections history. These materials are non-circulating.
- This collection is located on a small group of shelves behind the reference desk (under the elephants). It includes: sound recordings, video and unique items that would otherwise be damaged or lost in the main stacks.
- This collection is housed in the "crypt" or caged in area in room 3210. It includes: "rare" and fragile materials.
- This location is housed in the rare book room. Items cataloged in the rare book room do not follow the Library of Congress Classification System. Most rare book call numbers include: R.B., Collection Name, Year of publication and Number of slot when item was acquired (ex., Gen. 1810.2). Collection names include: Gen. (General), Laufer, Ayer, Kunz, Misc. (Miscellaneous).
- This collection is also housed in the rare book room and serves as a frequently used reference collection. These materials are non-circulating.
Abbreviated journal titles can be a challenge for researchers. Below is a list of various print and electronic resources to help decipher journal abbreviations:
Electronic Resource Guides
Created by Cornell University Libraries
Journal Abbreviation Resources on the Web
Created by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library
- Biological Journals and Abbreviations
Print Resources (available at the Reference Desk)
- Periodical title abbreviations: by abbreviation / editor, Leland G. Alkire, Jr. ; associate editor, Cheryl Westerman-Alkire. Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., c2001.
- Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. BPH-2 : periodicals with botanical content : constituting a second edition of Botanico-Periodicum-Huntianum / Gavin D.R. Bridson, compiler, [et al.]. Pittsburgh : Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University, 2004.
Off-site access to Electronic Resources
The Field Museum Library provides remote access to library databases and e-journals via the Internet when you are awayfrom the Museum.
You may access electronic resources off-site if:
- you are a Field Museum staff member or research associate;
- you are registered at the library with a Library Registration card on file;
- you have a valid Username and Password assigned to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find out what my username & password are?
In general, your username will be your Field Museum domain name (e.g., cgiannoni) and the password is the 5-digit code on the back of your ID badge. This is not automatically generated, please contact Christine Giannoni (email@example.com) to have this created.
- Where do I link to the library’s electronic resources?
Where do I log in?
Once you have selected content to view and clicked on a link to content, a new page will pop up that asks for your username and password. Once your username and password are correctly entered, you should be taken directly to the content of the journal or database.
Which library resources do I have remote access to?
Remote access is available to most of the Field Museum Library’s online resources (there are some journals to which access is restricted). As content comes via many different providers, the ways in which they indicate available content does vary. This can be anything from a green circle to a unlocked padlock symbol.
Where can I get help accessing the library’s resources?
For assistance, please contact Christine Giannoni (firstname.lastname@example.org)