How To Conduct Archival Research
Because items in the archives are often one-of-a-kind, the rules for using them are a little different than the regular library. The biggest differences are: Using the archives requires an appointment. Archival Materials can not be checked out. The shelves of the archives are not open for browsing. A member of the library staff will retrieve the items you need and bring them to you.
Steps in the Archival Research Process
- IDENTIFY the items that you want. Clarify your research topic (for example, instead of “Athletics on campus” try “Baseball in the 1980s”). If possible, identify which collection you'd like to see. Consult the archivist about exactly which items within a collection might be useful to your research.
- REQUEST an appointment with the archivist to view the items.
- VISIT the archives to conduct your research. Be sure to be familiar with all of the rules and procedures of using Archives and Special Collections before your visit. Archives and Special Collections is located in the Munday Library. When you arrive, check in at the front desk. The viewing of archival materials takes place in the Tocker Reading Room (Rm. 113).
Planning Your Visit to the Archives
After booking your appointment with the archivist, we recommend you prepare for your visit by reviewing this checklist:
- Familiarize yourself with the Munday Library’s location and campus parking rules.
- Know the rules of use detailed below.
- Plan your research time efficiently to get the most out of your visit with the archivist.
- Pack a USB flash drive in case you need to scan certain materials.
- Remember that only current SEU students and staff have wireless internet access.
- Only current SEU students and staff have access to the library’s printers.
- Schedule some additional time for the unexpected. Discoveries and new questions unearthed during research may lead you down different avenues than you had originally anticipated.
Rules of Using Archives and Special Collections
The following special rules of use have been implemented in order to ensure that these one-of-a-kind materials will be available to researchers for years to come.
- Archival materials may not be checked out, nor may they be removed from the reading room.
- Researchers are permitted to bring pencils, laptops, personal travel scanners, paper for note taking, and phones into the reading room. No pens, markers, or highlighters are permitted in the reading room.
- Please wash (and dry) your hands before touching any materials. Patrons may be asked to wear protective gloves if deemed necessary by library staff.
- Researchers must exercise all possible care to prevent damage to materials. They are irreplaceable.
- No food or drink of any kind is allowed in the reading room.
- Documents should be maintained in the exact order they are arranged in each file. If a document appears to be out of order, the researcher should notify the archives staff. Do not attempt to move or rearrange documents yourself. Remove only one folder from a box at a time.
- Make no marks or erasures on any document. Use the strips provided for marking pages to be copied.
- Researchers are permitted to take photos (without a flash) of materials with their own cameras/phones.
- Due to special preservation issues when handling and photocopying and scanning archival material, all photocopies and scans are made by the Archives staff. The Library reserves the right to deny copy requests based on issues related to copyright, preservation, or other factors.
- The Archives are available for use between 8:30 and 3:30 M-F. Use of the archives requires an appointment. Walk-ins will be served dependent onlibrary staff availability.
- Researchers may handle no more than one archival container at a time.
- All permissions needed for publication are the researcher’s responsibility.
Photocopying and Scanning
Due to special preservation issues when handling and photocopying and scanning archival material, all photocopies and scans are made by the Archives and Special Collections staff. The library reserves the right to deny copy requests based on issues related to copyright, preservation, or other circumstances. If a patron’s scanning or photocopying needs are deemed considerable, the Munday Library reserves the right to charge a modest scanning fee or deny the request.
Email and Telephone Questions
The Munday Library recognizes that not everyone is able to travel to campus to conduct their research onsite. Therefore, research questions are welcomed via email and telephone at email@example.com and 512-428-1047. Please state your question as clearly as possible to facilitate a prompt response.
If a patron’s scanning or photocopying needs are deemed considerable, the Munday Library reserves the right to charge a modest scanning fee or deny the request.
While every effort is made to answer research questions as quickly as possible, please allow 1-2 weeks for a response.
No materials belonging to the St. Edward’s University Archives and Special Collections may be published or exhibited, in whole or in part, without written permission of the Library Director.
Specific acknowledgement of the Munday Library Archives and Special Collections must appear in the printed publication or display. The library requests notification of publication or display and a complimentary copy of the published work.
Requests for permission to publish should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photocopies or scans made of archival materials are intended for private research and permission to create these reproductions should not be taken as permission to publish. All responsibility for possible infringement of copyright law as a result of reproduction and use of these materials is assumed by the applicant. The researcher assumes full responsibility for complying with laws of libel and literary property rights which may be involved in their use. The Munday Library, at its discretion, may deny duplication of materials known to be covered by copyright that it does not own.