Unlike the publications in a general library collection, accessing and using archival materials is different...
Although we expect you to do some background investigation work before you visit (e.g. online, using bibliographies, using published sources), when you come to SCARC you can expect to work with staff to really get you started doing your archival research. We'll talk to you about your project and our collections, tell you about our rules and regulations, and have you register. Also know that your research with collections will be limited to our reading room hours (8:30 - 5:00 Monday - Friday).
Need some help getting started on your own? Check out these other guides!
You've been asked to write a research paper before, right? Many times with instructions to include your "thesis statement," "supporting evidence," "primary sources," or "original research." For graduate students, theses or dissertations provide evidence that they did that original research and are providing original contributions to their field. It takes the form of a lengthy, formal document that supports a thesis statement with evidence, critically analyzes a problem, and includes lots of research.
What does that mean for you as a researcher? Beyond being an excellent place to learn about scholarly writing in general, theses and dissertations are rich resources for learning about the research "conversations" in your discipline and resources for finding primary sources other scholars have consulted. However, like articles or books, these are just research tools to get you to the original materials; reading someone else's thesis, dissertation, reference list, or annotated bibliography does not replace the hard work of tracking down sources on your own.
The Archives does not generally collect or accession theses, but you can learn more about locating theses in the Libraries' collection on the Finding theses and dissertations guide.
Although archives and special collections house rare or unique materials, you'll also find published archival materials in our collections and on the library shelves.
Excluding those that are actually a part of archival collections and need to be accessed when our reading room is open, many published archival materials are assigned call numbers and can be found by searching the OSU Libraries' catalog. These are available to the public and accessible whenever the library is open and include historic copies of OSU's yearbook (the Beaver), the the Alumni Association's publication (the Oregon Stater). OSU's General Catalog is available both online and in print. You'll also find published archival collections through the Libraries' catalog (e.g. Foreign relations of the United States, Autobiography, by A. A. Milne, Congressional record).
Many publications are available on microfilm or microfiche! These can also be found through a catalog search. For instance, historic issues of OSU's Daily Barometer are printed on microfilm and have "LH1 .O7" as a call number. You can find out more about using microfilm in the Microform Help module.
Writing college-level papers is kind of like having a conversation, except a lot of the conversation takes place on paper. When you start reading what people write about your topic, a good idea is to first determine where they're coming from, what expertise they have, or what angle they are taking. After you've done that, you can start to think about where your own ideas fit into this conversation.