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Special Collections and Archives

Finding Archival Collections in Other Libraries

Numerous archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories around the United States and world include archival materials in their collections which are open to visiting researchers. Archival materials are described as collections, and primarily consist of unpublished records created by a person, family, or organization in the conduct of their affairs, kept because of their ongoing value. Archival collections are usually accessed via finding aids, invetories, registers, or other descriptive tools that are similar to the Table of Contents in a book.

If you try the three methods described below and still can't find what you're looking for, email us for assistance.

Online Archive of California (OAC)

The Online Archive of California (OAC) is a searchable database that includes finding aids for archival and primary source collections at more than 200 libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums in California, including Special Collections & Archives at CSUN.

After searching, you can limit your search results by holding institution, so you can see everything on your topic at other repositories in Los Angeles (UCLA, Occidental, Loyola Marymount, etc.) that have contributed finding aids to the OAC.

online archive of california

WorldCat

WorldCat is a searchable database that allows users to search across the collections of thousands of libraries around the world simultaneously. Many libraries have added records for archival collections to WorldCat, so it can also be a good place to track down archival materials.  

After searching, you can limit your search results to "Archival Material" with the check box on the left of the screen.

WorldCat search page

Footnotes and Citations

Another good way to track down archival materials is to read the footnotes, endnotes, catalogs, or bibliographies from secondary sources used during the research process. Even if your research topic isn't exactly the same as another author's, you may want to consult the same archival collection he or she used. You might find that another section of the same collection is useful to you, or that you're able to interpret the same items differently than the original author.

Footnote citing archives at CSUN