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How to Search Collections

This guide provides a comprehensive description on how to search these databases and resources.


There are many ways to search our rare and unique collection of library materials and archives, as well as posters, photographs, texts, sound recordings, moving images, and objects. In addition to our digital collection, you can explore a number of our specialized digitization projects and HISTORIES (Hoover Institution Stories, our online exhibitions featuring our collections). If you cannot find what you are looking for or have questions, contact us.

For an in-depth guide on how to search our collections, click here.


Most of the Hoover Institution’s library and all archival materials are listed in SearchWorks, Stanford University Libraries' online catalog. Users can refine searches to "Hoover Library" or “Hoover Archives” by opening the drop down menu in the left sidebar under "Library."  If an archival collection's catalog description includes the words "inventory" or "register", there is a direct link to the more detailed finding aid in the catalog record from the Online Archive of California.

Online Archive of California

The Online Archive of California (OAC) provides access to descriptions of primary source collections held by the Hoover Institution Archives, as well as more than 200 archival repositories across the state of California. Collections are listed in alphabetical order and have their own collection guide (as known as a finding aid) that includes biographical information about the creator, the scope and contents of the collection, and inventories and register descriptions of the material.

On the OAC website, conduct your search within the Hoover Institution by going to “Find a collection at this institution” in the left sidebar, or browse by alphanumeric order by clicking the appropriate number or letter. Once you have found the name of the desired collection, clicking on it takes you to the collection’s page. There, you have the option to view the entire collection guide in PDF or HTML format (links located in the upper right hand corner of the page). You can also use the search function to search the collection guide. To request items, click on the field on the top of the page.

Hoover Institution Digital Collections

Hoover Institution Library & Archives collections that have been digitized prior to 2021 can be found on our Digital Collections portal. Digitized items include posters, photographs, manuscripts, moving images, sound recordings, and other historical materials. 

Searches should be in English, with a few exceptions:

  • many non-English proper names have not been translated into English;

  • the records of the Zhongguo guo min dang [Kuomintang] are described in traditional Chinese; and

  • the Ėduard Amvrosievich Shevardnadze radio interview transcripts are described in Cyrillic.

The keyword search covers title, creator/contributor, description, subject, country of origin, object number, and object name. It also searches the full text of most PDF files ("document full-text").

Use quotation marks (" ") to search for an exact phrase and an asterisk (*) to search for a truncated term. For example, “Cold War” and stat* (for state, states, statutes, statistics, stats, and more).

In the search results, the search term is usually highlighted in context, with one exception: if a search term is found in the document’s full text. When a PDF file is retrieved in a search result and no search term is highlighted, the term is somewhere within the PDF file. After opening the PDF file, you can search within it for the term using keyboard shortcuts Control+F for PCs or Command+F for Macs

Additional search help is available in the Advanced Search.


The Hoover Institution Library & Archives digitized collections are also accessible on Calisphere which hosts digital collections contributed by all ten campuses of the University of California and other important libraries, archives, and museums located throughout California. Calisphere provides free access to unique and historically important artifacts for research, teaching, and curious exploration.

Specialized Digitized Projects

The specialized digitized projects listed below were issued, or contributed, in partnership with Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

Collection In Partnership with
Actas del Consejo de Ministros National University of San Marcos
Afghan Serials Collection East View
Al-Ahram Digital Archive East View -Global Press Archive
Chronicles of Terror Witold Pilecki Institute of Solidarity and Valor
East Asian Vault Project East View
First World War Portal Adam Matthew
Francis E. Stafford photographs, 1909–1933 Stanford University Libraries
Hoji Shinbun Digital Collection East View
Late Qing Republican-Era Chinese Newspapers East View-Global Press Archive
Medical Services and Warfare Portal Adam Matthew
Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers East View-Global Press Archive
Survey of Race Relations Stanford University Libraries
Szukaj w Archiwach Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe (National Digital Archives of Poland)