Special Collections USP

Storied Books at the University of Florida

UF’s special collections contain thousands of books, maps, and cultural objects from nearly a milennium of world history.


Every one has a story.

A competition is held each spring within participating colleges for the University Scholars awards that includes a $1750 stipend. The program will consist of undertaking a full research project, under the guidance of a faculty member. The University Scholars Program serves as an exceptional capstone to the academic careers of UF students. Only 200 students from all disciplines are selected through a competitive process to participate in this program.

University Scholars in Special collections work under the mentorship of our curators to bring their own research and creative interests to the collections. Fellows conduct advanced research either for publication or to aid the ongoing work of the program in digital projects and exhibitions.

The information below highlights areas the student may wish to pursue their research.  However, it is not limited to this list and is only listed to provide an idea of the range of materials and approaches taken over the course of the fellowship.

To see more of what student researchers are doing in Special Collections, please visit the Storied Books project site at https://storiedbooks.domains.uflib.ufl.edu/Wordpress/


What Makes a Book? Books have been remade and reinvented by new technologies from the time that the codex replaced the scroll, but these changes have not been instant or seamless. Explore how the book has changed from the time of medieval manuscripts to digital journals, and how each change has brought about discussion of what a book ought to be.   

Cheap Print and Popular Knowledge: The Rare Book Collection has more than books. Much of what was read before the nineteenth century circulated in small pieces: single sheet songs and flyers, small pamphlets, magazines and newspapers. Those materials were likely never intended to survive, but they provide great perspective on everything from international politics to jokes, songs and games.

Words (and puzzles and pictures) with Friends: Emblems, Albums, and Letters. Before digital social networks people sent clever sayings, news, and pictures to each other the old fashioned way – by drawing them in books. Come see how these albums combine image, text, and create a community of readers.  

Preserving Nature: From ancient Greece and Rome to the present day, natural history books attempt to describe and depict the world and how it works. To do so in later periods required a trained eye, a well-stocked bookshelf, and a team of engravers and bookmakers. Our natural history collections preserve the rigor, adventure, and the wonder of human interactions with the natural world. 


  • Must not graduate prior to May 2024
  • Good academic standing (3.0 GPA or above)
  • Applications due by midnight November 28, 2022


  • Completed Application Form
  • A one-page statement describing your interest in working with special collections materials
  • A Resume or CV
  • A statement of support from the student's home department, stating that the applicant has discussed the fellowship with them and has been made aware of any departmental policies for independent study (please also include these) .

*Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their area(s) of interest with a curator who can assist in selecting materials.

Applications are due via email to Neil Weijer, Curator of Rare Books (n.weijer@ufl.edu) by midnight on November 28, 2022.

Program Requirements


Each University Scholar is required to attend an orientation.  Orientation is a way for CUR staff to get to know the students and for the students to be able to have an open forum for questions.  During this orientation all details of the program requirements will be covered. Orientation will be done in an online capacity.  More details will be provided as the deadline approaches.

Paper Requirement

Every University Scholar is required to meet the publication requirement.  Scholars must submit by 11:59 pm on deadline day or will forfeit the final stipend. Mentors decide the option most suitable for the scholar, and their approval is required for all publication submissions. 

There are four options to meet this requirement:

Option 1: Co-author on a peer-reviewed journal article

The best option is to be a co-author with your advisor and/or research team on a paper submitted to a professional journal. Talk to your advisor early to determine if this is a possibility for you. To meet this requirement, your research mentor must e-mail jmoses@aa.ufl.edu (e-mails from students will not be accepted) stating that it is their intention to include you on a paper.

Option 2: JUR submission

If you will not be a co-author on a professional publication in 2019, you must submit a research paper to JUR, by JUR deadline. No late papers will be accepted. You must follow all of JURs deadlines and format requirements. Papers that do not meet their submission guidelines will not be accepted. Look on the JUR site for the guidelines. Submitting to JUR may preclude later submission to a professional journal but as each has their own regulations about previously submitted/published work, you and your research mentor will have to determine if there is a conflict. CUR and JUR staff cannot answer that as each journal has their own guidelines.

Option 3: Co-author after current year

If your mentor is not ready to make the data public or is planning on a journal submission after current year, you must submit a research paper to CUR, jmoses@aa.ufl.edu, by deadline. No late papers will be accepted. You must follow all of JURs deadlines and format requirements. Papers that do not meet their submission guidelines will not be accepted. Look on the JUR site for the guidelines. The form needed for submission can be found here.

Option 4: Progress Report

If you and your mentor determine that the project did not progress to the point of meriting a journal article, you must submit an e-mail request to submit a progress report (the email must be copied to your mentor) to jmoses@aa.ufl.edu. If approved, the final progress report must be approved by your mentor, and detail the entire project, work completed, any results, and problems encountered and must be emailed to jmoses@aa.ufl.edu by the deadline. The progress report should be formatted as follows:

Paper Assembly

Title page
Abstract and Key Words
Results – if any
Literature cited


12 point Times New Roman
Text aligned to justified
One inch margin
Page numbered (title page is page 1)
No running headers
1500 word minimum

Presentation Requirement

Each University Scholar is required to make a presentation at the University of Florida Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium by presenting a poster or an original creative work. You will be sent directions on how to submit your abstract and the required format before the deadline.  Your abstract and poster must be approved by your mentor before submission. If the student is unable to attend the research symposium on campus, they will be required to present in an online poster session.  More details will follow.

Social Media Share

In addition to the above requirements, scholars will be asked to share their work on the library’s social media platforms.

 We encourage research undertaken in preparation or support of a senior thesis or other research essay.