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Visiting the Archives


This resource discusses conducting research in a variety of archives. It also discusses a number of considerations and best practices for conducting archival research.

This resources was developed in consultation with Purdue University Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections staff. 

Contributors:Michael Maune, Nicholas Marino, and Gina Hurley
Last Edited: 2013-10-06 03:02:01

Your Arrival at the Archives

Most archives will require you to complete a registration form before you can enter and begin working with their collections. So, before your visit, check their website or call ahead to find out what forms of ID you should bring with you. It is also a good idea to confirm what outside materials, such as paper, writing utensils or cameras, are allowed. Prohibited items will need to be stored in a locker. Some archives may also provide a bag and coat check service. Once your belongings are stored, you can enter the reading room and begin your archival research.

Reading Room Etiquette

Generally, every archives has a centralized reading room in which you can browse the materials you requested. Sometimes you will have your own space to read and research. More commonly, however, you’ll be sharing this space with other scholars and researchers. Following a few simple etiquette rules will help your experience run smoothly.

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