Research Tools

The Bentley provides a number of different tools to help researchers access and make better use of the collections. An overview of the available research tools can be found below.

Online catalog system: MIRLYN

MIRLYN is the official catalog for the University of Michigan library system, and can be used to search the broader University Library system, or to search specifically for holdings in the Bentley Historical Library.

Use MIRLYN when:
  • You are beginning your research
  • You want to search all of the Bentley's available holdings.
  • You are interested in primary and secondary source materials.

Online Finding Aids

Finding Aids are descriptive inventories, indexes, or guides that repositories create to describe and to provide access to the contents of manuscript collections or archival records. The Bentley has over 1600 finding aids online which can be accessed through the Bentley EAD page and through corresponding catalog records in MIRLYN.

Use the online finding aids when:
  • You have a specific collection in mind.
  • You are interested in primary source materials only.

Subject Guides and Indexes

Subject Guides and Indexes at the Bentley provide a wide variety of resources for popular Michigan and non-Michigan related topics including: the Civil War, genealogy resources, railroads, city directories, and more.

Use the subject guides when:
  • You are looking for research topics.
  • You have a specific topic in mind to research.

Digital Histories and Publications

Digital Histories and Publications include links to online versions of many different publications produced by the Bentley Historical Library and various units and projects of the University of Michigan.

Image Bank

The Bentley Image Bank includes digital images from the diverse collections and holdings of the Bentley Historical Library. Online browsing and searching capabilities are available.

Use the image bank when:
  • You are looking for a digital version of a photograph.
  • You would like to see the strengths of the Bentley's visual holdings.