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GWS 400: Senior Seminar

Spring 2020

Finding Archives in Special Collections & Archives

The majority of materials in Special Collections & Archives are archival. Archival materials are described as collections, and consist of unpublished records created by a person, family, or organization in the conduct of their affairs, kept because of their ongoing value. Each collection has a Finding Aid, which is similar to the Table of Contents in a book. Finding Aids in Special Collections & Archives are searchable via our institution page on the Online Archive of California, which is linked directly beneath the OneSearch box on the library's homepage.

link to FAD from library home page

Finding Aids: Searching

Keyword searching our finding aids can be effective, but if you're struggling to find materials try asking yourself these questions:

  • Who are some notable people relevant to my research topic?
  • Are there any notable geographic locations relevant to my research topic?
  • Is there a relevant time period to my research topic?
  • What are some significant organizations relevant to my research topic?

The answers to these questions, especially the names of people and organizations, are often the most effective search terms to use when searching our finding aids. It also works in reverse, so if you're finding too many things you can try combining proper nouns with the keywords you're already using to narrow your search results.

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