1. What should I expect upon visiting the archives?
Most archives will have rules and regulations that are designed to help secure and protect the
collection. Some procedures you can expect:
• Complete a form (register) that provides information on how to contact you and the
focus of your research. Also, researchers may be required to sign in each day they
engage in research in the a
• Show a current photo ID to verify who you are (e.g., driver's license, student/faculty).What is an archives?
2. What is an archives?
The term "archives" has multiple meanings. An archives is:
The non-current records of an organization or institution, or personal papers of a person or family.
The building or physical space where archival materials are housed.
The program that manages the care of the archival materials.
3. What is the purpose of an archives?
Archives collect and preserve materials of historical and enduring value and make them
accessible for research and study, today and for future generations.
4. What kinds of materials are in archives?
Archives preserve materials that document the activities, experiences, contributions, and
achievements of an individual, family, organization or institution.
These historical materials may include:
Personal & Business Correspondence Blueprints
Programs Published/Unpublished writings
Invitations Oral histories
Newspapers & news clippings Books
Diaries & journals Periodicals
Photographs Audio & video tapes
Research notes Electronic notes
Most materials in archives are referred to as primary source materials because they are often unique and one of a kind. Typically books and periodicals are considered secondary source materials because they use primary sources to interpret and analyze a historical event or phenomenon. Most scholarly books contain bibliographies or endnotes which list primary source materials used during composition.
5. Who uses archives?
Students, faculty, independent researchers, genealogists, authors, journalists, filmmakers, and
museum curators are the primary users of archives.
Generally anyone with a serious research inquiry can use an archives. Those who aren't
affiliated with the archives may be required to obtain a visitor's pass and/or complete a
registration form. A few archives charge a fee or paid membership or letter of reference to use
their archives. Some archives such as businesses that are private enterprises and often have
proprietary information may provide primary access to its employees and limited access to
6. What are the definitions of Primary and Secondary Sources?
Material that contains firsthand accounts of events and that was created contemporaneous to
those events or later recalled by an eyewitness.
Primary sources emphasize the lack of intermediaries between the thing or events being studied
and reports of those things or events based on the belief that firsthand accounts are more
accurate. Examples of primary sources include letters and diaries; government, church, and business records; oral histories; photographs, motion pictures, and videos; maps and land
records; and blueprints. Newspaper articles contemporaneous with the events described are
traditionally considered primary sources, although the reporter may have compiled the story
from witnesses, rather than being an eyewitness. Artifacts and specimens may also be primary
evidence if they are the object of study.
1. A work that is not based on direct observation of or evidence directly associated with the
subject, but instead relies on sources of information.
2. A work commenting on another work (primary sources), such as reviews, criticism, and