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About This Guide
This guide will introduce you to the basics of archival research. You will find information on:
Where and how to look for archival collections
What to expect when you visit an archival repository
Citing and quoting from unpublished materials
Thank you to Donna Davey of the CUNY Graduate Center who developed this guide
Following are sources for further reading. Some are cited in this research guide and all are recommended for developing research skills.
Building Archival Research Skills
Archival Arrangement & Terminology
Archival Collection on the Shelf
Best Practices for Archival Research
- Read widely in reference and secondary sources on your topic and the time period you are studying to inform your research in archives.
- Keep a running list of the relevant people, organizations, events, places, dates, and themes you discover in your reading to streamline your archival research.
- Look closely at the websites of archival repositories to learn about their collections, finding aids, and procedures.
- Always contact an archival repository before you visit.
- Speak with library staff about your topic to fine-tune your research strategy and learn about related materials.
- Take careful, detailed notes when using unpublished materials.
- Archival research takes time. Be sure to plan ahead.
There are many ways to get help from a librarian — choose the method that best suits your needs:
- In Person: Visit the Manhattan campus library Monday - Thursday 9:00 - 9:00 pm, Friday 10 - 6 pm, Saturday 9:00 - 5:00 pm.
- By Chat: Chat with a librarian during opening ours.
- By Email: Email us anytime and we'll get back to you within one business day.
- By Phone: Call us at (212) 3434-1234 x 2001 and ask for research help.
- By Text: (917) 338-4733
- By Appointment: Schedule a one-on-one research consultation by calling or emailing.