Loading...

HIST104: Historical Methodology - The Art and Craft of the Historian

Unit 6: How to Use an Archive   Archives maintain collections of primary-source documents and historical objects.  Some archives house documents and objects from many different sources, while others contain documents and objects from a single source.  Archives are an important resource for researchers looking for historical documents about a specific topic.  Archives maintain catalogues and finding aids for their collections.  Researchers should refer to these finding aids in order to locate specific documents.  In this unit, we will learn how to conduct historical research using archival records.  We will also discuss archival research practices and various digital technologies that can assist researchers with their work.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 4 hours
 

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Compare and contrast basic historical research practices conducted with library, archival, and online resources.

6.1 Planning Archival Research   6.1.1 Important Terminology   - Reading: New York University Libraries’ “Research Guides: Definitions” Link: New York University Libraries’ “Research Guides:Definitions (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the definitions of each of the terms on the webpage.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.1.2 General Preparation   - Reading: The National Archives: “Getting Started Overview” Link: The National Archives: “Getting Started Overview” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Review the information by clinking on Steps 1-4 on the webpage. 

 Note on the text: Maintained by the National Archives, this website
provides important preparation tips for people who wish to conduct
archival research.  The website is intended for people who plan to
conduct research at the National Archives, but the tips are relevant
for any archival researcher.  
    
 Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain. 

6.1.3 Important Protocols and Restrictions   - Reading: New York University Libraries’ “Research Guides: Visiting Special Collections” Link: New York University Libraries’ “Research Guides: Visiting Special Collections” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.
 
The NYU Libraries’ webpage discusses important research protocols and access restrictions that must be observed by researchers when using materials in the archive.  The NYU Special Collections rules are representative of rules found in most research archives.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2 Conducting Archival Research   6.2.1 Accessing and Using Rare Documents   - Web Media: YouTube: The University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections: “Rare Research: How to Do Primary Research with Rare Documents” Link: YouTube: The University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections: “Rare Research: How to Do Primary Research with Rare Documents” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: View the video clip (4:28 minutes).
 
This video clip shows how to access and handle rare archives. While the video specifically shows how to navigate the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, the information provided in this video is valuable for understanding the process for using rare documents as primary sources in research.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.2 Finding Collections   - Reading: New York University Libraries’ “Research Guides: Finding Archival Collections” Link: New York University Libraries’ “Research Guides: Finding Archival Collections” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.3 Handling Archival Materials   - Reading: New York University Libraries’ “Research Guides: Handling Special Collections Materials” Link: New York University Libraries’ “Research Guides: Handling Special Collections Materials” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.4 Using Digital Tools for Archival Research   - Reading: The National Maritime Museum’s Journal for Maritime Research: Dr. Howard J. Fuller’s “Historical Research in the ‘Digital Era’: Techniques, and the More Obvious Pros and Cons” Link: The National Maritime Museum’s Journal for Maritime Research: Dr. Howard J. Fuller’s “Historical Research in the ‘Digital Era’: Techniques, and the More Obvious Pros and Cons” (HTML)
 
Also available in:

[PDF](http://www.jmr.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conJmrArticle.85/viewPage/1 "PDF")  
    
 Instructions: Read all five pages of the article. You may choose to
download the PDF or printable version by clicking the links in the
box on the webpage.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

End of Unit Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 6 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 6 Quiz” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Complete the linked quiz above.  When you are done, check your work against The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 6 Quiz Answer Key.” (PDF)