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Archival Research

A guide to finding materials in archives at Central Washington University

Archives West

Archive:: a place in which public records or historical materials (such as documents) are kept

This guide is designed to help researchers using the collections of Brooks Library Archives and Special Collections.

CWU Archival Collections contain University related history as well as local and regional history collections.

Our archival collections are listed in in finding aids that are available online. These aids are also searchable.  With a finding aid you can see items in collections listed by box and folder. Use the finding aid to locate materials you want to see.

The link below will take you to a list of all CWU archives finding aids hosted thorugh the Archives West. You can also use the Archives West site to see finding aids from other archives across the region. The search function will search the document for the term you enter.

Terms associated with Archival research

Artifact – Non-archival materials (objects) retained because of their value. They are generally maintained by a curator rather than an archivist.

Collection – The contents of an archives or a specific large group of materials within that Archives

Ephemera – Items that are created for a specific event or activity, are often mass-produced, and are not intended to survive indefinitely. (i.e. a handbill, newspaper, menu, etc.)

Finding Aids – Indices to a collection that help establish intellectual control over the archives. Basic finding aids include descriptive inventories, guides, accession registers, card catalogues, shelf lists, and automated databases.

Preservation – Measures taken to prevent or delay degradation of archival materials. These measures involve using safe (acid and lignin free) storage supplies and providing safe housing for materials.

Provenance –the origin of a collection, documents the life of the collection i.e. donor, previous owners of the collection

Scope and Content – Description of a collection or its parts.

Series- Records with the same provenance that have a similar theme, resulted from the same activity, or have similar formats

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