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Project Planning, Evaluation and Documentation in Community Arts: ARTE 3089SCRC

A guide to using materials in the Special Collections Research Center.

Conducting Research in Archives and Special Collections

Archival materials are primary sources, or material that contains firsthand accounts of events and that was created contemporaneous to those events or later recalled by an eyewitness, such as diaries or correspondence.  By contrast secondary sources are works that are not based on direct observation of or evidence directly associated with the subject, but instead relies on sources of information, such as textbooks or history books.  

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) has a useful guide to conducting archival research, called Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research

For a good resource for understanding how archivists work, which can help you get the most out of your visit, see "How can you Help an Archivist to help you?  Reference services from our side of the desk," by Samantha Thompson


Tools for Searching SCRC materials

To search for books and other printed materials, use the catalog tab of the search box widget on the upper right hand side of our home page.  This will limit your search of the library’s catalog to items in the SCRC.

SCRC Widget with catalog tab highlighted

To search the archives, manuscripts, and pamphlets in the SCRC, use the Finding Aids tab

A finding aid is a single document that places archival materials in context by consolidating information about the collection. It's also a tool that facilitates discovery of information and helps users gain access to and understand archival materials.

SCRC search widget with Finding Aids tab highlighted

Pamphlets and more can be found by doing a keyword search on the SCRC home page, again using the search widget in the upper right hand corner of our home page.  Select the Finding Aids tab and enter your keywords.  

SCRC search widget with Finding Aid tab highlighted

You’ll get a list of results with links.  Click on the link that says “General Pamphlet Collection” then use control+f to search for your keyword on the webpage.  Or you can also just browse using the link above.

To request these pamphlets you’ll need the call number in brackets for example: [300-18]

Requesting Materials

Once you have identified materials you want to view in the SCRC reading room, you can use your SCRC Researcher Account to request them.  See this page for instructions. 

Using Archives: A Guide to effective Research