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Historical Document Inventory (HDI)

The Historical Documents Inventory (HDI) is the result of a statewide project overseen by the New York State Archives that inventoried records in institutions throughout New York State that hold historical materials (not including books). Between 1978 and 1993, the New York Historical Resources Center surveyed institutions to locate, identify, describe and report all of the manuscripts and archives materials in New York State repositories that are open to the public, including historical agencies, public libraries, and colleges and universities.

Although items or collections that are part of the HDI now appear in the NYS Library's online catalog, they are not held at the New York State Library in Albany; they reside in approximately 1,250 repositories across New York State.

NYS Library Catalog

Historical document Inventory records can be identified by:

  • the letters HDI in the library field,
  • the word REPOSITORY in the location field and
  • a call number which starts with (NIC).

In the brief record that displays in your list of results, you can identify any items that are held by HDI participants because they will list the location as something like "1 copy available at Historical Document Inventory in REPOSITORY." For example:

example of catalog search results list that include an HDI item (outlined)

To find out which repository holds the item, click on the "Details" button to get more information about the item. Then look for the LOCATION field, which identifies the HDI repository. Contact that HDI repository directly if you have questions about the item or wish to view it.

In the record:

  1. Click on the "Catalog Record" tab (labeled 1 in the screenshot below).
  2. Look for the LOCATION field at the bottom of the record (labeled 2 on the screenshot) to get the name of the library or archives that holds the materials.

Screenshot of a catalog record, indicating where to find the location of HDI materials


HDI records also appear in OCLC's Worldcat. They show up as being held by:

New York State Historical Documents
Albany, NY 12230 United States

Unfortunately, the Worldcat record doesn't include the LOCATION field with the actual location of the materials. If you originally found a record in Worldcat, you will also need to then look the item up in the NYS Library catalog and check the LOCATION field to identify the HDI repository, as in the instructions above. (To search only the HDI and not the State Library's collection, select "Historic Documents Inventory" on the Library pull-down list.)

Last Updated: February 7, 2024