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Researchers increasingly engage with the digital archives built by libraries, archives, and museums, but many institutions still seek to learn more about researchers' needs and practices with these digital collections. This paper presents a user assessment study for Emblematica Online, a research digital library that provides digitized versions of emblem books from leading rare book collections. This paper examines the ways in which scholars engage with the special collections contained within Emblematica Online through analysis of interviews. The authors propose that the diverse and complex uses of digital special collections require libraries and archives to consider expanding the capabilities of their digital content and platforms.