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Research Guides

Guide to Research in Special Collections: Using Archives West

This guide will show you how to search Special Collections materials.

Archives West

Archives West is a website run by the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a consortium of research institutions all over the Pacific Northwest, which UW Special Collections belongs to. It is the place where we house most of our online finding aids. You can still find archival collections in the library catalog by following the steps outlined in "Using the library catalog." This is just another way to search if you specifically want to find archival collections.


1. Go to the Archives West website

A screenshot of the Archives West homepage


2. Select “Seattle” from the map and “UW Special Collections from the drop down menu

A screenshot of the Archives West homepage showing the dropdown menu under Seattle and a circle around "UW Special Collections


3. Search for the item you’re interested in using the “refine by keywords” box on the left of the page.


If you use the large search box at the top of the page, you will search all of the institutions in the Orbis Cascade Alliance who use Archives West to put their archival finding aids online. It's a very useful tool as long as you're not looking for material that's specifically held in UW Special Collections.