Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Visiting Archives: Some Best Practices

As many of the readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home are aware, I am spending part of my summer in the archives.  Since I have two trusty undergraduate research assistants with me, I have been spending more time than usual thinking about archive dos and dont's.

Over at the fancy new "AHA Today," Jennifer Reut offers some "summer tips for visiting archives."  I will summarize them below:

1Make Contact:  Let the archives know in advance that you are coming.  Don't just show up. 

2Decide What You Want to See in Advance.  I have found that sometimes archivists might have the materials ready for you when you arrive.

3Recognize That Most Material Isn't Online

4.  Know What to Expect on the First Day.  Do you need to register, have an ID handy, find parking, etc... 

5.  Identify What to Bring (or Not Bring).  Can you use a camera, laptop, etc...?

6.  Figure Out How to Get the Goods.  Get a feel for how and when archival materials are retrieved.

7.  Find Out What, When and How You Can Copy

8.  Look for Sources of Funding

9.  Recognize That Every Archive is Different

10.  Be of Good Cheer Be patient and have a positive attitude.

1 comment:

Susan Fletcher said...

I would add:
1) Be nice to your archivist. If you are friendly and cooperative, archivists can be your best friends and pull all kinds of information for you that you didn't know was available. Also, archivists are nice people who enjoy talking about history and they are usually happy that someone is researching the materials that they spent hours arranging and cataloging.