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Using the UW Libraries Catalog to Identify Manuscript Collections
Use the Advanced search option in the UW Libraries Catalog to identify archival collections. Follow the search example below to limit your results to Archival and Ms Collections.
Digitized Finding Aids for UW Collections
Collections of unpublished personal papers, organizational records, and historical photographs are described and inventoried in detailed guides known as finding aids. A finding aid helps the researcher to identify boxes or folders of interest with a manuscript or archival collection. A typical finding aid provides background information on the organization, person, or family who created the papers or photographs, an overview of the collection and its arrangement, and a detailed container list. Many, though not all, finding aids are available to view on the web (see Digitized Finding Aids). A complete collection of finding aids is available in Special Collections.
Tips for Using Manuscript Collections
Research using manuscript material is different from more typical library research. The unique nature of the material dictates that there are stricter security procedures -- users need to register, manuscript materials need to be requested, personal belongings are placed in lockers, photocopying is limited, etc. The following tips can help you when using the manuscript material in Special Collections:
- Check Special Collections hours. They are open fewer hours than the rest of the library.
- Read the Special Collections pages: About and Using the Collections.
- Do preliminary research first so that you can place the manuscript material in historical context. Since manuscripts tend to be either personal papers or organizational records, it is essential to know the important people and groups associated with your research topic.
- Make sure the collections you need are housed on site. Some collections are kept off-campus and must be requested prior to use. If this information is not provided in the online finding aid (or if there is no online finding aid), contact Special Collections to check.
- Peruse the online finding aid, if available, prior to using this collection so that you can identify the boxes and folders you will need to examine.
- Allocate sufficient time. Research using manuscript material takes time.
Manuscript & Archival Collections in the Pacific Northwest
Manuscript & Archival Collections Elsewhere
ARC - Archival Research Catalog
Database to the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); includes links to digital copies of some material
Allen Library South Basement
Mon-Fri 10:00 am - 4:45 pm
Wed 10:00 am - 7:45 pm
See website for additional details