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HIS301: Historical Writing: Searching & Using Archives

Navigating the University Archives for students in HIS301
Last Updated: Jan 8, 2024 4:09 PM

Using Archives

Information about University Archives collections can be found online in four places. Remember, archivists and librarians are here to help—so when in doubt, reach out to!

  • Collections by Topic
    • The University Archives has several subject concentrations.  Resources for certain topics can be searched, such as "student life," "publications," and "ephemera."
  • Finding Aids
    • Finding aids serve as detailed guides to a collection's contents and include descriptions beyond what is offered in the library catalog.  Finding aids include background information about the collection (types of material, dates, size, terms of access, etc.) and a folder-level listing of that collection's contents.  A portion of our archival collections have online finding aids.  Researchers can search our online finding aids here.
    • For assistance with searching for or navigating online finding aids, please see the Guide to Research Using Special Collections.
  • Catalog
    • The Libraries Catalog contains brief records for University Archives collections (creator, title, dates, summary and subjects).  Some records contain links to online finding aids (detailed collection descriptions) and/or online content.
  • Digital Collections
    • A portion of our collections has been digitized and is available online.
    • Digitized versions of UB student newspapers The Bee, Argus, The Spectrum, U of B Spectrum and The Official Student Publication of the University of Buffalo can be found on the New York State Historic Newspapers site.

The University Archives' collections are open to researchers with these exceptions:

  • Collections stored off-site or at the Libraries Annex require three to five business days notice to ensure retrieval. Contact the University Archives at or (716) 645-2916 to schedule an appointment.
  • Unprocessed collections may be opened for research with permission and prior review from the University Archivist.
  • Records that contain sensitive personal information are restricted in order to protect individual privacy. Certain administrative records are restricted in accordance with University policy. Collections with restrictions are noted as such.

Material in the University Archives is unique, rare and fragile. Take your time when handling materials.

  • You may be asked to wear gloves or use supports when handling certain materials.
  • Documents should remain flat on the table.
  • Take out only one folder at a time from boxed collections. Maintain the original order of the folders as well as materials within the folder.
  • Be sure to pay attention to documents as a whole; look at the front and back of items for identifying and descriptive information.
  • When in doubt, reach out!

New York University's short video on Handling Archival Materials.

What to bring

  • Your laptop and phone; we have Wi-Fi and electrical outlets at every table.
  • Current photo identification (e.g. driver's license, campus ID, passport).

What not to bring

  • Food or drink.
  • Pens, though you can use our pencils and paper to take notes.
  • Scanners, tripods or video equipment.

Other things to know

  • While appointments are not necessary, they are strongly encouraged.  It is recommended that you contact the University Archives ahead of your visit to make the best use of your research time.
  • Phones must be silenced.
  • You may use a camera or phone to take pictures of materials but the flash cannot be used.  Fees may apply and permission is required from the desk attendant.  
  • Staff will make copies and scans of collection material if the item(s) can withstand the duplication process.  Fees may apply.  Entire collections and publications cannot be copied.

For more information about planning your visit to the University Archives and policies regarding usage of material, duplication etc. please visit our Policies page.


  • Monday - Friday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • Hours may change occasionally. Please confirm hours with the University Archives before your visit.


  • 420 Capen Hall, inside the Silverman Library on the North Campus of UB
  • Please contact with University Archives for driving and parking directions.

Contact Information