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HST 415: Public History: American West: Primary Sources

This page lists resources helpful to Public History assignments.

OSU Archives Research Guides


Looking for more direction? The OSU Archives Research Guides should get you started!


SCARC collections: ready to research

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!


How to Cite Archival Materials

Archival materials such as manuscripts, photographs, departmental papers, oral histories, and diaries are unique items that often require complex citations. When citing archival resources, keep these points in mind:

  • Unlike the books and journals in a library, most archival materials are one of a kind. Thus, citations should not only identify the source, but also the repository where the source is located.
  • Collection title and any collection call numbers should always be included in the citation.
  • Archival collections can consist of hundreds of boxes worth of materials, so make sure that you always include specific information about the portion of the collection you are referring to, including information about the the page, date, or filing unit (box/folder) in which the item is found.
  • Individual archival repositories often have different methods of organizing their records; therefore, having a consistent rule for all archival citations is not necessarily possible. If you are unsure about the structure of your citation, remember that its purpose is to guide the reader to your source: providing more information is always better than not enough. Never hesitate to ask the Archivist, a librarian, or your professor for assistance.