Libraries can generally be defined as collections of books or other published materials that are not unique. Patrons can access materials at the library, via the Internet, or by checking them out for personal use. Libraries exist to make their collections available to the people they serve.
Archives also exist to make their collections available to people, but differ from libraries in the types of materials they hold and the way materials are accessed and arranged.
The first resource that you can use to find materials in the Luther College Archives is our catalog called Nordic.
Like the library's catalog, Nordic will allow you to search the Archives’ holdings by keyword, subject, creator, etc. The search results will tell you whether or not we have materials relating to that keyword. It’s important to understand that, like a library catalog, this will give you details and descriptions (called a Finding Aid) of the holdings, not actual digitized copies of the holdings. (See an example of a Finding Aid.)
If you prefer a one-on-one approach, or if you’re having trouble finding materials online, please contact the Archives staff. Often, we can direct you to some known collections or can even help refine your research topic.
[Read more: Digital Resources]
Once you have found materials that you’re interested in researching, the next step is to visit the Archives Reading Room, located on the upper floor of Preus Library. Scheduling an appointment is a great way to ensure that your boxes and materials are ready as soon as you walk in the door. You can schedule an appointment by contacting staff directly (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by requesting a time through our catalog Nordic.
[Read more: Visit the Archives]
In certain instances, materials may be inaccessible, or may have stipulations on use and access. Often the finding aid will tell you whether or not there are any restrictions on use or access. Some reasons why there may be limited access are:
Here are some tips for your visit to research in the Reading room:
The information on this page is adapted from “Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research” by Laura Schmidt, accessible at: http://www2.archivists.org/usingarchives