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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

The Special Collections and Archives Research Center

A full color image of the entrance to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center's Reading Room on the 5th floor of the Valley Library. A set of double doors open into a space with four tables and floor to ceiling windows.

Photo of the SCARC Reading Room

What Are Archives?

What Are Archives? An Introduction (3-minute video)

Archives are vibrant places where the first-hand materials of human history are actively collected, preserved, managed, and made accessible. The word "archives" can refer to collections of historical records, the place where they are stored and used, or the organization responsible for them. In under three minutes, learn more about different types of archives, what archivists do, who can use archives, what is missing from them, and why they are valuable.

This open educational resource is made available all; Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 license.

Welcome to SCARC!

An Introduction to SCARC, a 3-minute video by Tiah Edmunson-Morton

Video Text

Slide 1 Hello! Today I’m going to give you an introduction to the Special Collections and Archives at OSU.

Slide 2 The OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) is home to the university’s unique collections of manuscripts, archives, photographs, and books. In normal times, we are on the 5th floor of the Valley Library and our collections are open to students, faculty, staff, and the public for research. For now, SCARC’s on-site public services are open by appointment only. We will not be offering drop-in consultation or reference services in our Reading Room during fall term. Appointments must be made five business days in advance, and preliminary Zoom consultations are required prior to setting appointments.

Slide 3 Our holdings include records pertaining to the history OSU and its faculty members, the history of science and technology, history of natural resources in the Pacific Northwest, especially agriculture and forestry. We have other noteworthy collecting areas, including the Linus and Ava Helen Pauling Papers, Oregon Multicultural Archives, Oregon State Queer Archives, and Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives SCARC collects and preserves the university’s rare books and fine bindings. Subject strengths include the history of botany, horticulture, and gardening, the history of travels and exploration, literature, the history of the Pacific Northwest, natural history, and general science. Since 2010, SCARC faculty and staff have conducted or collected well over 900 interviews, in the process creating a body of work that has contributed greatly to the scholarly documentation of past events while also providing useful context on contemporary life at OSU and across the Pacific Northwest. All of SCARC's more recent interviews have been cataloged alongside several decades' worth of legacy oral history collections that are maintained and preserved by the department. SCARC is currently the repository for more than 2,200 oral interviews, the earliest of which was conducted in 1949.

Slide 4 We have limited onsite public services at this time but will update our home page as changes are made.

Slide 5 There are many ways to explore our collections remotely. Archivists created “finding aids,” which are descriptions of the materials in collections. You can search our website for keywords or topics, or explore guides by title, type, topic, or creator.

Slide 6 We have a lot of digitized content available online, including publications, photographs, and sound and video recordings. We are also active on social media, especially Instagram and Twitter, and post regularly on our department blogs.

Note: This video was created as part of a video set for a fall 2020 Sociology course