ERIC Number: ED324005
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-May
Reference Count: N/A
How Are Libraries and Archives Different? Introduction to Archival Research.
Rohfeld, Rae; And Others
Although library buildings often house both library and archival (i.e., manuscript) collections, the approaches to library and manuscript collections are quite different, and obtaining information from libraries and archives involves different processes. In general, libraries maintain published book and periodicals that are duplicated in many places. In contrast, archives and manuscript collections usually hold unpublished, often unique materials. Libraries organize their collections by card catalogs, indexes, and other research tools; archival materials tend to be organized by type of document--e.g., correspondence, business records, or minutes. Authors of published materials address their works to a particular audience, while archival collections include whatever people saved in the course of conducting their business or living their lives. Thus, archival researchers must be particularly sensitive to the context in which a document was produced. Archival materials may include records of actions taken or decisions made by people or organizations, photographs or other pictorial materials depicting a particular activity or period, and unpublished primary source materials that can be used to build a case for a particular construction of the past. The researcher should recognize that, for many types of inquiries, archival material is inappropriate and could be misleading. For example, the researcher who is trying to understand a particular episode would find it more productive to look in the current published literature than to consult a direct report by one of the participants, which would probably represent only one view and could be biased. (3 suggested readings) (SD)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI.
Authoring Institution: Syracuse Univ., NY. Kellogg Project.