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The Politics of Division: Northern Ireland, 1921–Present


Burns Library Search Tips

This aim of this guide is to support the research needs of students in this class.

Finding Archival Material @ BC

In Catalog Advanced Search consider one of these strategies in addition to your search terms:

Limit Your Search

  • by Search Scope "Burns Library"
  • by Material Type "Archives & Manuscripts"

Use Local Collection Names (Change "Anywhere in record" to "Local collection")

Use Subject Keywords for Form/Genre (Change "Anywhere in record" to "Subject")

  • "Sources"
  • "Letters"
  • "Correspondence"
  • "Manuscripts"
  • "Photographs"

Try Keywords in Title (Change "Anywhere in record" to "Title")

  • "Papers"
  • "Collection"
  • "Records"

Scheduling a Visit

Burns Library has an online request management system.  As you identify what you would like to see, click the "Use in Burns Library" link in the catalog record. 

Use in Burns Library link

When prompted to sign-in, either use the Boston College sign-in box to register as a researcher using your BC username password or use the Guest Researcher box to create an account without a BC username.

Once you've reviewed our registration policies and filled out the registration form, you'll return to the request form.

To complete the form:

  • For published material: Add details on the specific volume or copy you wish to see (if needed)
  • For archival material:  Add the boxes you want to see in the Box field.
    • Materials are viewed at a box level, so you only need to list each box once
    • Refer to the finding aid in order to identify the boxes you would like to see in the reading room (found at the end of the catalog record under Links)
  • Leave any notes on your request in the Special Requests/Questions field.
  • Schedule the date you would like to visit the reading room (check library hours for more details) at the end of the request form, and press submit.

The reading room staff will have the materials ready for your visit. You'll simply need to show a school or government-issued ID and take a photograph to finish your registration process. 

Burns Library Catalog Search Tips

It is easiest to find books or archival collections from Burns Library through the advanced search in the library catalog. 

From the advanced search:

  • Limit the Search Scope to Burns Library
  • Choose your keywords (remember to try multiple options)
  • Choose what Material Type you want to find:
    • Books
    • Archives & Manuscripts
    • Musical Recordings
    • Scores
  • Choose what Language you would like
  • Limit your results to the Date range you are trying to identify
    • Note: when looking for Archives & Manuscripts dates can be very broad for a single collection, so don't limit your dates too closely
  • Search for Form/Genre types in the Subject field
    • Change "Anywhere in the record" to "Subject"
    • Try keywords such as
      • "Sources"
      • "Letters"
      • Correspondence"
      • "Manuscripts"
      • "Photographs"

For archival collections, the finding aid for a collection can be found under the "Links" section at the bottom of the catalog record. If there is no link to a finding aid available, contact our reference staff for further assistance in requesting this collection.

Burns Library has an online request management system.  As you identify what you would like to see, use the "Schedule visit to use in Burns Library" link to arrange a visit to use these materials.  For more information, see the Burns Library website.

Finding Digitized Material from Burns Library

Selected manuscripts and photographs have been digitized and are freely available online

To browse collections and images, click on "BC Digitized Collections" on the catalog search page:

BC Digitized Collections landing pageThe BC Digitized Collection landing page allows you to browse collections and, after selecting a collection, browse the individual images within each collection.

To search across all digitized images through the library catalog, change the search scope to "BC Digitized Collections" and choose your keywords.

Limit search scope to BC Digitized Collections

As you find items you wish to view, use the "BC Digitized Collections" link in each catalog record to see the image.

Find Online link in catalog record

For published material from Burns Library, along with other digitized books from Boston College, check the Internet Archive. There are over 2,000 volumes available online in the Internet Archive-Boston College digital collection. Boston College contributions include Jesuitica, Medieval Philosophy, and Irish History texts, as well as the Boston College Sub Turri yearbook, the Newton College of the Sacred Heart Well yearbook, and Boston College alumni magazines.

Finding Digitized Newspapers

A selection of digitized newspapers are available at All the newspapers are full-text searchable as well as being browsable by date. Some highlights include: