Visiting An Archive
Objectives of the Assignment
- If you have never been in a "real" archive, to get you into the
archive and familiar with how they work.
- To experience the joy of placing a speech into a historical moment.
- To share information with fellow critics on what is available in archives
in the metropolitan area
Steps in the Assignment
- Go to the website of the archive you select. Learn basic information about
the archive: when they are open, their basic rules of engagement, where they
are located, the scope of their collection, the extent of their digitization
including finding aids and collections.
- Look through their collection material (and finding aids if online). Locate
an interesting collection and formulate a search goal. For most of you this
should be documents related to a historical speech. But your research interests
may suggest an alternative to this. If so, negotiate them with me. I do recommend
that you locate a collection that has not yet been fully digitized. For our
introductory goals, this will be a fuller experience. Supplement this search
with a search on ArchivesUSA on RESEARCH PORT, although you will probably
find nothing if your library is not a participant.
- Contact someone at the archive. Explain to them that you are graduate student
at the University of Maryland working on a project on your speaker. Identify
as precisely as you can the collection/documents you want to examine. Arrange
a time to visit the archive.
- Visit the archive. Talk to your contact if that is the arrangement you have
made. In addition to examining your documents, be sure that when the visit
is complete you can provide information on the following:
- scope of collections
- how the catalog or finding aids work
- what is on-line and what will require a visit
- examples of things they have that may be of interest to others (or the
lack of anything of such interest)
- rules for use
- how to arrange to use
- Send a quick email when you return thanking the contact.
- Prepare a one page maximum report for the seminar based on the questions
Possible archives for your visit
Last Revised 21 January 2009