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Historical Bases of American Higher Education: Archival Resources: Tips

A guide to primary resources about the history of higher education from the UB University Archives
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2024 12:04 PM

Tips for Research Success

Keep in mind:

  • Historical research takes time.  Plan ahead and start early.
  • Take notes.  Record your sources and link each source with your notes.  Archivists cannot backtrack your research and identify citations and images so this part is up to you.
    • When using a collection, write down the collection name, number, and box/folder or page number with your corresponding notes.
    • If you take a photo of something, write down the source of the material on scrap paper, place it next to the object, and photograph the whole thing.  You'll have the image with it's source in one shot (and you can crop out the citation source for your paper/presentation).
  • The historical record is imperfect and incomplete.  It is what has survived and what was collected.
  • Keep context in mind.  Think about what has been recorded, what hasn't, and why.
  • Using and understanding resources
    • Tips from the National Archives on analyzing and understanding primary source material
  • Read finding aids and online collection information before you contact or visit Archives.
  • Read secondary source materials before your visit to gain a basic understanding of your topic.