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Using Special Collections: Overview

What's an Archive?

An organized collection of the noncurrent records of the activities of a person, group, or organization, usually in a repository managed and maintained by a trained archivist.

Types of Archives

  • University and college archives
  • Government archives
  • Religious archives
  • Museum archives
  • Corporate archives

How are Libraries and Archives Different?

Libraries Archives
Published materials Unpublished materials
Books, periodicals

Letters, diaries, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, periodicals, audio and visual materials

Browse and retrieve materials yourself Request materials from staff
Individual items Collections of items
Item level cataloging Descriptions can be collection level, box level, or folder level
Multiple copies Unique materials
Can borrow materials Must view items onsite
Lower security Higher security

Head of Public Services, DeGolyer Library

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Christina Jensen

Collections Beyond SMU