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Archives & Special Collections research guide

This guide provides information about doing research in the Consortium Library's Archives & Special Collections.

COVID-19 information

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our in-person research services. For a complete list of precautions we are taking to offer in-person appointments, please see our COVID procedures document.

Preparing for your visit

Prior to visiting the archives, please be sure to take the following steps to ensure that you get the most out of your time with the collections:

  • Visit the Archives and Special Collections homepage to make yourself aware of our open hours or any upcoming closures. 

  • If the archives are open for research by appointment only, contact us to make an appointment. You can see our availability for appointments on our appointment calendar linked from the homepage.
  • Know which collections you want to look at prior to coming in. For information about how to find information about collections on our website, consult the Using the archives website section of this guide. 
  • Pay particular attention to the volume and container list in the finding aid, and if the collection is large and has multiple boxes, use the container list to narrow down which boxes you want to look at. Check out the How to use our finding aids section of this guide for more information on navigating the finding aids.
  • If the archives staff sends you a researcher registration form to sign over DocuSign, make sure to enter all of the requested information and sign electronically to save time during your visit.
  • Make sure to bring a computer or pencil and paper to take notes, as well as a camera if you would like to take photographs.

When you arrive

  • Archives & Special Collections is located on the third floor of the Consortium Library.
  • If parking is being enforced on campus, you can pay for parking at one of the kiosks in the parking lot.
  • When you arrive at the archives you will be asked to fill out and sign a researcher registration form, if you have not already.
  • You will be asked to put any bags and food or drink in one of the lockers in the research room.
  • You may have a computer or pencil and paper to take notes, as well as a phone or camera to take photographs.
  • We do not allow the use of pens while researching in our collections. We can provide you with a pencil if you don't have one.

Using the collections

  • The archivist will typically bring out as many boxes as will fit on a cart, but please only take one box and folder at a time.
  • Please keep all of the folders in a box in the order that you found them
    • Most collections have numbers in the top right-hand corner of each folder, but some do not.
    • You will be provided with a placeholder to stick in the box when you take out a folder to make it easier to keep track of where the folder came from.
  • Similarly, it is important to keep the contents of each folder in the order that you found them. We recommend flipping through a folder like a book, only removing individual items if necessary (for example to look at a slide on a light table).
  • You may take photographs of items in a collection using a camera or mobile device, however, we do not allow the use of personal scanners. Let the archivist at the reference desk know if you would like to take photographs and fill out our photography form with your information and information about the items you photograph.
  • If you need better images of items than your camera can take, or copies of audiovisual materials, we can provide you with copies. Ask an archivist for information about how to indicate which items you want copied and consult our duplication fee schedule for prices for copies of different types of material in our collections.
  • Please remember that archival research can be time consuming. Don't be surprised if you don't get through all of the material you planned to look at in one session.
  • If you have any questions, please ask the archivist at the reference desk. We are here to help.

Contact Me

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Staff Archives and Special Collections
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage AK 99508