SCA holds the historical records of the university since its founding in 1925, including photographs, reports, memorabilia, course catalogs, yearbooks, the Criterion, and other university and student publications. The collections also include books and materials related to local history.
Want to know what the archivist is talking about? Use this in-depth glossary provided by the Society of American Archivists.
Archives - also called special collections, repositories, or record centers - organizations that collect, preserve, organize, describe, and provide access often as part of a larger organization like a corporation, university or public library, museum, or historical society.
Archivists - also called special collections librarians - people with advanced education and training in how to manage archives and the material in archives
Archival material - also called primary sources - photographs, diaries, letters, documents, reports, books, films, memorabilia, etc. of historical value
Finding aids - also called indexes, collection guides, or archival description - provide context about a collection of archival material, including historical or biographical information, the types of materials in the collection, and sometimes a detailed inventory
Digital object - digital files created by scanning or digitizing archival materials to be made available online for easy access
Reading room - the space where you can conduct your research under staff supervision, separate from where the material is stored
Collection - can be used in several ways - typically a group of materials donated or transferred by a person, organization, department, or office, sometimes means a group of materials put together by the archivist or another individual (stamp collection, book collection, etc.)
Papers - archival materials belonging to an individual that document that person's life (letters, emails, photographs, diaries, etc.)
Records - archival materials that document the essential functions of an organization (policies, important emails, financial documents, etc.)
In-person archival research tips
Quick introduction to archives
In-depth introduction to archives
Quick tips for visiting archives
The majority of archival material is not online - it would take hundreds of years and billions of dollars to digitize everything
Special collections and archives are typically found in libraries (academic and public), museums, larger historical societies, and government offices (might be called "historical records" instead of archives)
Look up the repository (another word for archive) online to become familiar with their hours, forms, policies, and staff
Contact the staff in advance by phone or email to introduce yourself, your research topic, and request an appointment
An appointment guarantees that they have material you're interested in and that it will be available when you arrive
Wash your hands before you enter their reading room so that you don't get oils or dirt on the material
If you want to look at photographs or negatives, they may provide gloves for you to wear
Bring a pencil, paper, your phone, laptop, etc. but be prepared to adhere to their rules for using these items
Some repositories allow photography using your phone but be sure to ask first