User Guidelines

Map and Location Guide -- Materials and Services -- Rules and Guidelines

The Medieval Institute Library is a research collection.  A detailed listing of our various holdings can be found on the Library’s website. This pamphlet will aid patrons in finding the various sublocations throughout the Medieval Institute. When looking up a title in the university’s catalog, please make note the specific sublocation of the item within the Medieval Institute’s holdings.

Medieval Institute holdings are identified in the catalog with the following sublocations (see also the location guide on back of this pamphlet):

  • General Collection = 7th floor open stacks
  • Reference (Rm. 715) = Medieval Institute Main Reading Room
  • Paleography (Rm. 715Q) = Paleography Reading Room
  • Ambrosiana = Ambrosiana Collection, Microtexts Research Room (715F)
  • Universities Coll. (Rm. 715E) = Astrik L. Gabriel History of Universities Reading Room
  • Classical and Byzantine Reference (Rm. 714) = Byzantine Reading Room
  • Near Eastern Reference Collection (Rm. 714B) = inside Byzantine Reading Room

Materials in the Medieval Institute’s reading rooms, the Stavros Niarchos Byzantine Reference Room and the Near Eastern Reference Room are for reference use only. This means that they should be available to all patrons at all times, and thus should not be taken out of the public reading room areas without permission. The Medieval Institute’s General Collection is located in the 7th floor open stacks area. Patrons may check out materials from the Institute’s General Collection, either at the circulation desk or self-check stations on the first floor, for a period of five days. General Collection items can be renewed three times via the circulation desk. Graduate students and faculty who require the use of these materials for longer periods should contact the Reference Specialist in Hesburgh 715B to request an extended renewal.

There is a photocopier/scanner in the open stacks area on the 7th floor which is available for use by students, faculty, and the public; in addition, scanners and photocopiers are located throughout the library.

Map and Location Guide for Medieval Institute Materials

All Medieval Institute  have colored call number labels indicating the collection in which they belong, whether General (red), Byzantine (green), Reference (orange), Paleography (light blue), Universities (light purple), Ambrosiana (blue), or Near Eastern (light gray),  The physical location is noted on the following map by color and name.


The Medieval Institute reading rooms are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  After 5:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m., there is no public access to the Medieval Institute’s rooms (715, 715Q, 715E-F) and the doors of the Institute are kept locked.  Authorization is required for after-hours access. Faculty and graduate students who need access to the reading rooms outside of normal opening hours should request the access code from the Institute’s Director, Associate Director, or Librarian. The Byzantine Reference Room (714) remains unlocked, so access to both the Classical/Byzantine (714) and Near Eastern Reference (714B) collections is available whenever the library building is open.

Patrons with disabilities or special needs:  please contact the Reference Specialist should you require assistance accessing or working with any of our materials. 

Materials in the Medieval Institute's collections

The materials from our reference collections located in the various reading rooms are intended to be available to all patrons at all times, and therefore should not be taken out of the public reading room areas.  A patron with a valid reason to use such a reference work in some other location should request permission from the Medieval Institute Reference Specialist who may allow the book out of the reading room.  Patrons are encouraged to leave any materials they use on the tables or the carts in any of our reading rooms, as the library tracks book usage; re-shelving by patrons alters our statistics. 

Medieval Institute General Collection items may be put on reserve through the Circulation Department. Please See the Reference Specialist if you have questions about or need assistance with this process.

Medieval Institute journals

Journals with “Medieval Institute” or “Byzantine Reference” at the beginning of their call number are shelved on the 7th floor of the Hesburgh Library. Most are bound and shelved in the stacks, but recent issues of many important journals are either displayed on the periodical rack in the Main Reading Room, or stored for safekeeping in Room 715B until they are sent to the bindery. Contact the Reference Specialist for assistance. 

Facsimiles and Microtexts

Original format manuscript facsimiles are held in Rare Books and Special Collections. The Reference Specialist may retrieve such facsimiles for use by any patron in the reading rooms. Facsimiles can be reserved for regular consultation in the Institute’s Reading Room for a period of up to two weeks.  Advance notice of at least one day is required for the retrieval of facsimiles. For the use of other Special Collections materials in the Medieval Institute reading rooms or seminar room, please consult with the staff in Special Collections.

The Medieval Institute’s Ambrosiana Microfilm collection contains microfilm copies of Latin, Italian, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic manuscripts as well as some French, Spanish, and German materials owned by the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. This collection includes photographs of all the drawings held by the Ambrosiana. In addition, we have more than 2,500 microfilm copies of manuscripts from selected European libraries emphasizing materials related to the history of medieval universities for in-house use by students, faculty, and visitors

Our comprehensive microfilm and facsimile database is very useful for locating specific facsimiles or microfilms or for browsing our holdings:

New acquisitions (books)

Recent acquisitions are displayed separately for convenient perusal in the Main Reading Room, on the shelving unit between the doors to the Paleography (715Q) and Universities (715F) collections.

Electronic resources

For a current listing of electronic resources of interest to medievalists and available at Notre Dame, please see:

A computer workstation, a networked microfilm scanner, and a printer are available to medievalists in the Ambrosiana Research Room (Room 715F). In addition, the room houses two desktop computer workstations with Internet access and Microsoft Office software, a flatbed scanner, and a microfiche reader. These are intended for research purposes only and are available to all patrons from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please note:

  • Patrons may print from any Medieval Institute workstation to first floor printers via a campus PHAROS-account.
  • Electronic products which have not been networked and are only available on CDs are shelved in 715B; corresponding software for these CDs has been installed on designated PCs in the Institute’s reading rooms (715, 715F).  Public access to these CDs is limited to hours when the reading room is unlocked, i.e., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Wireless Internet service is available throughout the library.  Please refer to the URL regarding user rules and policies.

General guidelines for patrons

               The Medieval Institute’s reading rooms (715, 715Q, 715E, 715F) and the Stavros Niarchos Byzantine Reference Room are quiet study areas. Patrons should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Please keep conversation to a minimum. The Institute’s reading rooms are not appropriate places for office hours, meetings, or study groups. 
  • Food and beverages are not to be consumed in the reading rooms (except at Institute-sponsored receptions). 
  • Cellular phones are to be silenced in the reading rooms and phone conversations, including those via computer telephony services (e.g., Skype) are prohibited. 
  • No smoking is allowed in the library building or within 25 feet (about 6 meters) of the entrances.

NB: Work spaces are not assigned in the Medieval Institute’s reading rooms. Any patron may work at any of the tables or open carrels in each of the reading rooms; these are available daily on a first-come, first-served basis.  A small number of shelves are available to faculty and visitors for the extended storage of circulating library and personal reading materials (circulating library materials stored on these shelves must be checked out or they will be removed by library staff). Shelves are assigned each semester, with first priority given to those with no assigned space in the library. Interested faculty or visitors should see the Reference Specialist for more information.