Visiting an archival repository

Before visiting

  1. Consult secondary resources and websites for information about your topic.  These sources may reference archival material in their citations.
  2. Consult the archives website. Take a look at there holdings and their finding aids.  Use the search options to conduct searches for you topics. Make a note of any material you believe may be relevant to your research. Archival finding aids will note the size of the collections, restrictions on material and the various languages that material may be in.  This information can all be used to plan your visit establish how long it will take you to look through the material.
  3. Talk to the Archivist.  The Archivist can provide research help and can point you to relevant material in their holdings.

Preparing for your visit

  1. Learn the policies.  Archives have many policies and procedures in place regarding the handling of material, reproduction of material etc.  These policies are in place to help preserve the material for the long-term and will likely outline handling procedures for the material, reproduction of the material and copyright  information.  Policies and procedures can often be found on the Archives' website.  It's a good idea to contact the Archives if you have questions about the policies and procedures or cannot locate them.
  2. Check the hours. Some Archives have limited opening hours and limited space.  Opening hours can often be found on the Archives website. You may have to contact the Archives to make an appointment to view the material.
  3. If you already know the material you would like to consult, make sure to note the title and the reference number.
  4. Be sure to arrived equipped.  Archives only allow pencils to be used in the reading room.  This lessens that chances of users accidentally marking the records with pen.  Be sure to have pencil and notepad.  Most places will allow the use of a laptop for note taking.

Arriving at the Archives

  1. When you arrive, you will likely be required to register as a user of the Archives.  You will also be asked to secure your belongings in a secure location such as a locker provide by the repository.  Only note taking tools, (pencil and paper or laptop), are permitted in the reading room.  Staff may also allow you the use of a digital camera.
  2. The staff may provide you with an overview of how to handle material and inform you of copyright restrictions.
  3. Archival material is held in a secure material.  Users must request material they would like to use by filling in a request form.  The material will be retrieved by staff and brought to the reading room.

While at the Archives

  1. Take your time going through the material. 
  2. Have a reproduction form on hand to note any copies you would like made.
  3. Note the title and reference code for any material you wish to retrieve again or cite.

Remember that the information provided on this page are guidelines for doing archival research. If you have questions about visiting an archival repository contact the staff.