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Research Methods for Historians

Best practices and tips for how to and where to get the information they need.

For visiting libraries and archives

Next steps

Now, plan your trip. Check the web pages of the library or archive you plan to visit for information about:

  • Access (Is the collection open for research? Do you need a letter of introduction? Will you need to register before using their collections?)
  • Hours (Are they open on the weekend? Closed for renovations?)
  • Copies and scans (Is self-service copying/scanning possible, or must you have copies made by their staff? What are the fees? Can you use a digital camera?
  • Availability of materials (Are materials paged from remote storage? How long will you have to wait? Are some materials temporarily inaccessible?)
  • Arrangement of materials (Are there indexes, inventories, or finding aids for manuscript collections?)
  • Practicalities (Directions, parking?)