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Explore the Collection

Containing over 500,000 items, the Transportation library's scope encompasses all modes of transportation including aviation, railroads, highway, maritime transportation, public transport, bicycle and pedestrian transportation, and logistics. Highlights of our collection include:

Guidelines for special materials

To ensure the collections’ security, preservation, and availability to future researchers, archival and special collections materials must be handled according to the policy below, and reviewed by Transportation Library staff prior to scanning.


Archives and Special Collections Access Policy

  • Please contact the Transportation Library in advance to make an appointment to use archival and special collections materials. Email
  •  Materials are available by appointment for in-house consultation 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday – Friday.
  • Materials are non-circulating.
  • No pens; please use pencils for note-taking.
  • No food or beverages.
  • All materials must be handled with care. Maintain loose papers in the order in which they are received.
  • Gloves must be worn at all times when handling photographs and may be required with manuscripts and rare books.
  • Unless prohibited by donor-imposed restrictions, patrons may photograph materials in our collections with personal cameras.

Scanning Policy

  • No self-service scanning without permission.
  • Requests for scans from these collections are handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Staff will approve up to three items at a time for scanning. Once these items are returned, patrons may request to scan additional items.
  • Patrons must use the library’s book-friendly scanners. Staff will direct patrons to the appropriate device.
  • Any item at risk of damage from scanning will be handled by Transportation Library or Digital Services staff. We also reserve the right to decline permission for items that are too fragile to be handled.
  • While Transportation Library staff will process materials as quickly as possible, please allow up to 24 hours for completion of staff-processed scanning.
  • All patrons are expected to use their copies, scans, or photographs in a manner consistent with fair use and applicable copyright, privacy, and other laws. Please see library staff with any questions.

Credit Line

Cite materials from the Transportation Library as follows: "Courtesy Northwestern University Transportation Library, [collection name] collection."

Copyright Statement

Northwestern University Libraries provides access to its holdings for educational, personal, and non-commercial use, provided that ownership of the materials is properly cited. Written permission of the copyright holders and/or other rights holders is required for publication, distribution, reproduction or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use. Publication includes, but is not limited to, print, film, slide presentation, video, television, and electronic transmission. Transmitting an image or file on the Internet is equivalent to reproducing and distributing that image in print.