Student Affairs History Project
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Some Basic Procedures and Considerations
for Conducting Archival Research

Michael D. Coomes
Bowling Green State University

One recommendation stands out above all the rest: Get to know the archivist well. A good working relationship with the archivist will make your visit a smooth and enjoyable one. Archivists have multiple responsibilities including the preservation and cataloging of archival information.   However, they do not view their archive as a collection of musty records preserved for posterity but rather as a source of information and insight for future generations.   Archivists want their archive to be used.   When it is used you are validating their work and the archives existence--make good (and courteous) use of the archivist.

The following is not intended to be a comprehensive list of topics on conducting archival research; entire books have been written on the subject (see Hill, 1993 and the Bibliographic Guide contained on this website). This list is merely meant to be a set of recommendations for new researchers to consider at they embark on their first archival journey. Each of the following sections will be expanded as the Student Affairs History Project matures. Initially it includes very general bullet points to aid you in the process of conducting your research.   Happy hunting.

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