What's the protocol for doing research in an archive?
March 22, 2010 2:01 PM Subscribe
What's the protocol for doing research in an archive? I know I probably have to call in advance, but is there anything else I should know? And do I have to know exactly what I'm looking for before I go?
posted by colfax to Education (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm thinking about applying to history Ph.D. programs next fall, but I'm still relatively new to the field. I would like to investigate some of the local archives to see if there's anything in there that could be useful for my research (or rather, potential research), but since in the past I've found all of my primary sources online or in regular libraries, I'm not really sure how to proceed in an archive.
Am I allowed to just go in as an unaffiliated researcher? Do I need to know what I'm looking for beyond my specific subject areas? I mean, I know I'm looking for stuff about German immigrants in my state, but it's not like I know I'm looking for the letters of Frau Whatever. Do you have any tips for how to do productive research in an archive (I hear it's a different sort of animal than regular library research), or about the general protocol while I'm there? The archives I'm looking at are all state archives, if that makes any difference.