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Guide to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

A guide to SCARC services; for additional information, please see our website

On-site Research Appointments

Due to limited staffing capacity, the Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) is not offering drop-in consultation or reference services; in-person collection consultations will be offered by appointment only until further notice.

On-site researcher appointments will resume in the second full week of winter term (January 10). Appointments must be scheduled at least one (1) business day in advance. Appointment blocks will be offered once per day, four days a week at the following times: 

  • Mondays, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm,

  • Tuesdays, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm,

  • Thursdays, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and

  • Fridays, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

  • No appointments will be offered on Wednesdays.

Two researchers will be scheduled for the entirety of each appointment block. A third spot may be available for those patrons requiring access to microfilm exclusively; please contact us at for more information. 

For winter term, SCARC will be open through Friday, March 18, with occasional holiday- and class-related closures (please see our public calendar for more details). Please note that appointment availability is subject to change based on a number of extenuating factors, including but not limited to: staff availability, Valley Library hours, University-mandated curtailment of services, and inclement weather conditions. SCARC reserves the right to cancel appointments; researchers affected by Reading Room closures and appointment cancellations will be notified. When applicable, Reading Room closures and the resumption of appointments will be be posted on this page.

SCARC will be closed for Spring Break, March 21 through March 25. We will continue to respond to general and reference questions remotely via our department email,, during this closure.

Research Services Updates

Though we’re back in our Reading Room on the fifth floor of the Valley Library, some of our services may look a little different this year. 

Paging-on-demand service will not be offered at this time; materials necessary to your research must be requested in advance, and will be limited to six (6) cubic feet of material (i.e. the amount that will fit on a library book cart). No more than five (5) oversize map folders can be paged per visit.

To ensure you’re able to make the most of your time with us, preliminary Zoom consultations are highly encouraged. We’re happy to help you make your visit a successful one in whatever way we can!

Our highest priority is to work with OSU classes and students, and we remain committed to providing high-quality teaching and research services. While SCARC’s on-site public services will be limited this academic year, remote reference inquiries are being addressed to the best of our ability. We will continue to respond to general and reference questions remotely via our department email,

Reading Room Guidelines

Using Materials

  1. Food is not allowed in SCARC. All drinks must be stored in sealed containers in the coatroom.
  2. All personal items, excluding writing utensils, notepaper, laptops, and cameras, must be placed in the coat room or personal locker for security purposes.
  3. All cell phones and other electronic devices must be silenced while in SCARC.
  4. Pens and other non-erasable writing utensils are prohibited in the reading room. Pencils are available at the reference desk.
  5. Adhesives including glue, tape, and post-it notes are prohibited in the reading room.
  6. Materials may not be marked, folded, or handled in any way likely to damage them.
  7. No more than one book or archival box may be accessed at a time.
  8. Protective gloves must be worn when examining photographic collections.
  9. No research materials may be removed from the reading room.
  10. All unbound materials (papers within folders and folders within boxes) must remain in the exact order received.
  11. Flash photography of SCARC materials is not allowed.

Using Lockers:

SCARC offers use of personal lockers to its researchers on the conditions that:

  1. SCARC materials may not be brought into the coatroom or placed inside a locker.
  2. No items may be left in the lockers after closing time.
  3. Any items left in a SCARC locker after closing will be transferred to the Valley Library Circulation Desk Lost & Found.
  4. For safety and security reasons, the SCARC staff reserves the right to open a secured locker at any time.
  5. The patron agrees to pay a $25.00 fine for loss of or damage to a locker key in their possession or damage to a locker.

Library-Use-Only ILLs

A third appointment spot may be available for those patrons requiring access to In-Library-Use only ILLs on microfilm. For researchers requiring access to non-microfilm Library-Use-Only materials (e.g. books and other printed works), scanning arrangements may be made depending on the volume and delicacy of the material. If you'd like to view non-microfilm Library-Use-Only materials in person, an appointment is required.

Please contact us at for more information.

COVID-19 Precautions

SCARC staff are committed to mitigating the risks associated with on-site collection consultations, and will continue to make disinfecting supplies available to researchers. As per University compliance requirements, all SCARC faculty, staff, and students have been fully vaccinated, and will wear face coverings at all times in all public areas on campus. In accordance with University policy, researchers must wear face coverings while in the Valley Library and in SCARC’s Reading Room. 

Remote reference inquiries will continue to be addressed to the best of our ability. If you’re unable to visit us in person, please contact us at

Conducting Research

You can expedite the research process by having a clear research topic in mind, and/or knowing which collection(s) and box(es) you’d like to review. If you’re working on a class project, letting Public Services staff know allows them to assist you more quickly and efficiently.

Materials are pulled by the box, rather than by the folder. Patrons are asked to use a single box at a time, and only one folder at a time. Maintaining the existing physical order of documents within each folder is paramount. For those new to archival research, Public Services staff are happy to orient you to the proper use of archival materials.

While we do allow the use of personal cameras, cell phones, and tablets to capture images, the use of portable scanners is prohibited. SCARC also provides the following for researcher use and convenience:

  • Gloves (only required when handling photographs)
  • BookEye overhead scanner (for the digitization of materials)
  • Pencils
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Light boxes (for viewing slides)

SCARC’s Reading Room is equipped with an A/V station that accommodates many current and obsolete formats, including CD, DVD, VHS, and cassettes, and a microform reader for microfilm and microfiche. We cannot, however, provide access to U-matic or Betamax tapes, reel-to-reel film or audio, or LPs. For information on how to access these latter formats, please review the “Duplication” section.