Library Resources

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.

  • Journal TOCs

    The largest free collection of scholarly journals Tables of Contents (TOCs)

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Digital Collections

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Guides, Bibliographies & Brief Articles

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Print Journals

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 As the Library has canceled subscriptions in recent years, this list is no longer current, and we may no longer receive many of the titles listed.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.

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Collection Locations

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.
CRPT. Ref.
This collection is housed in the "crypt" or caged in area in room 3210. It was formerly part of the rare book room reference collection and could still be used as such. Space issues and easier accessibility warranted their move to this location.
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.

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Journal Abbreviations

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

Print Resources (available at the Reference Desk)

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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 ( to have this created.

  • Where do I link to the library’s electronic resources?

    The Library's electronic resources are integrated within our WorldCat catalog. There is also an A-Z electronic journal list available from this landing page.

  • 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 (

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Citation & Full-Text Databases

AATA Online: Abstracts of International Conservation Literature

Free online database for professionals engaged in the conservation and management of material cultural heritage in all of its forms: works of art, cultural objects, architectural heritage, and archaeological sites and materials.

Academic Search Premier (offsite access)

A scholarly, full text database that indexes journals in the social sciences, humanities, general sciences, multicultural studies and education. The database includes full text for thousands of publications as well as images, for nearly every academic field of study.

BCIN (Bibliographic Database of the Conservation Information Network)

Free bibliographic resource containing materials related to the conservation, preservation and restoration of cultural property.

Business Source Elite (offsite access)

Offers indexes and abstracts to journals in business, management, economics, finance and accounting. This database includes full text coverage dating back as far as 1985, with detailed company profiles for the world's 10,000 largest companies.

Directory of Open Access Journals

Collection of free scientific & scholarly journals.

ERIC (offsite access)

ERIC, the Educational Resource Information Center, contains more than 2,200 digests along with references for additional information and citations and abstracts from over 1,000 educational and education-related journals.

HarpWeek, 1857-1913 (offsite access)

Searchable full text archives of Harper's Weekly covering the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.

Illinois Digital Sanborn Maps (offsite access)

Provides digitized maps for most cities and towns in Illinois. The large scale plans chart the growth and development of these communities.

Index to American Botanical Literature

Contains entries dealing with various aspects of extant and fossil American plants and fungi, including systematics and floristics, morphology, and ecology, as well as economic botany and general botany (publications dealing with botanists, herbaria, etc.). "America" is defined in the broadest possible sense, encompassing land and marine plants and fungi from Greenland to Antarctica. The searchable database includes all those entries published in the Index since 1996, and thus includes botanical literature appearing since late 1995.

LISTA - Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts

Index and abstracts of articles relating to: librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more.

Newspaper Source (offsite access)

Newspaper Source provides selected full text for 25 national (U.S.) and international newspapers. The database also contains full text television & radio news transcripts, and selected full text for more than 260 regional (U.S.) newspapers. This database is updated daily via EBSCOhost.

Open Science Directory

Free search tool for open access journals and journals in special programs for developing countries.

Regional Business News (offsite access)

This database provides comprehensive full text coverage for regional business publications. Regional Business News incorporates coverage of 75 business journals, newspapers and newswires from all metropolitan and rural areas within the United States. This database is updated on a daily basis.

SORA (Searchable Ornithological Research Archive)

Free archive that provides access to an extensive Ornithological literature of international scope, and detailed material documenting the history of Ornithology in North America over the last 120 years.

World Wide Science

A free global science gateway—accelerating scientific discovery and progress through a multilateral partnership to enable federated searching of national and international scientific databases and portals.

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