Below are some helpful tips as you begin your research at the Rubenstein!

Starting Your Search

Most detailed and extensive search function: Select “Collection Guides” in the main Rubenstein search bar and search for keywords.

“Collection Guides” (sometimes known as “Finding Aids”) have the most detailed information about archival material; they are descriptions of what is within a collection, such as the names of folders in a box. 

Best pre-fixed search aids: “Research Guides” organize materials in each center by topic, such as “Lesbian and Gay Pulp Fiction” or “Race and Ethnicity in Advertising.”  The Sallie Bingham Center Research Guide and The Hartman Center Research Guide will point you to various materials that each have searchable collection guides. You can also find them by going to the respective center’s homepage and selecting “Collections and Guides” on the left sidebar.

There are not separate search bars for all of the items in the Sallie Bingham Center or Hartman Center, but you can find most materials that are tagged with “Sallie Bingham Center” or “Hartman Center” as their “Author” in the Duke Library Catalog Search.  Please keep in mind that cataloging practices have evolved over time, so a few of the materials will not be tagged. 

If you know what you are looking for, such as the name of a book or collection, select “Catalog” in the main search bar. You can also keyword search, but the results will not be as detailed as the Collection Guides. 

Rubenstein Homepage Search Bar

In the search bar on the Rubenstein home page, there are three tabs: Catalog, Collection Guides, and Digitized Collections.

The Catalog search will help you find the names of collections within all of the Rubenstein Library. The Catalog function is better for a general overview search. 

For the most detailed information, you should begin your search with the Collection Guides.

Searching the Digitized Collections is helpful for accessibility reasons, although most materials have not been digitized in the Sallie Bingham Center.  

Keyword Searching

Performing a keyword search may be useful in finding items and additional collections of interest. Keywords should be short phrases or words such as “reproduction” and “technology ethics” that are relevant to your research interests. Use keywords in the “Collection Guides” search tool  for the most detailed results. 

It is important to keep note of the historical context and language of the collections that you are searching and use keywords accordingly. Older library guides and collection descriptions may contain descriptive language now considered racist, sexist, pejorative, and/or out of date. For example, you might search “personal computers” instead of “laptops,” or “office equipment” instead of “technology.” Like many other special collection divisions, the Rubenstein’s staff is working to update certain finding aids and collection descriptions, but due to the magnitude of the library’s holdings the process will take time. 

Because of changing cataloging practices with regard to metatags, such as authors, material type, source, etc., narrowing your search by these filters in the Duke Library Catalog Search will most likely leave out some collections. They can be useful for excluding non-archival materials if you are searching the entire Duke Library system. 

Research Guides Related to this Project

Women and Advertising

Feminist Movements

Print Advertisements Collections

Prescriptive Literature

Selected J. Walter Thompson Collections

Reproductive Rights

Additional Assistance 

If you need further assistance navigating the Rubenstein, feel free to ask a reference archivist or research services staff member for help! See the Rubenstein Library page and the Contact Us page for information on the library, its hours, and who to contact for assistance.