Locating & Using Manuscripts and Archives
|Mandeville Special Collections website.
||Find descriptions of the collections, rules for using the collections, links to digitized content and more.When starting out, it's good to get an idea of what Special Collections is all about.
|Don't forget to search Roger, the online catalog!!
All Special Collections' books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, photographs, etc. etc. including all of our manusSpecial Collections.
When you find materials of interest, bring the call number, author and title information to Special Collections on the main floor of the Geisel Library. You will work with the materials in our reading room.
Finding Aids for Manuscripts & UC San Diego Archives:
|Browse through the finding aids alphabetically, by general topic area, or your search the full text of the finding aids for a particular correspondent or event.
- Jot down the Call number from the Roger Record or the top of the Finding Aid.
- We pull up to six items at a time, so make a note of which MSS boxes or other materials you want to start with.
|Leave plenty of time
in Manuscript and Archive collections is a time intensive
processes and often involves some level of trial and error, but the
rewards of uncovering original documents or letters related to your
topic of study are well worth the time!
|Reading Room Rules and Handling Tips
- Bring an ID! The first time you use the collections you will need to register.
- You can bring a laptop into the reading room, but the no other personal belongings.
- Read over the following Rules for Readers so you know what to expect.
- Online Archive of California
Online Archive of California (OAC) pulls together finding aids and collection descriptions from over 120 California archives, libraries, museums, and other institutions. UCSD collections are represented here.
- ArchiveGrid -- Open the door to history
Search through thousands of archive and manuscript collections worldwide. This database searches WorldCat records but also crawls the web searching specifically for finding aids. The search function is clunky, so be sure to read the Search Tips box for creating a better search.
- World Cat (Subscription version)
Search for all types of materials held in libraries around the world. Can limit to Archival Material, by date, language, etc. Much more advanced search options than when using the free public version.
- NextGenMelvyl Pilot Advanced Search Page
This is the web interface version of World Cat. Currently in a pilot version, and continually making improvements. You can now limit your search to Archival and Manuscript material - Go to Advanced Search to find this option. You can link to Next Gen Melvyl Pilot from the libraries' home page or via Roger.
- National Archive Records Administration (NARA) -Riverside NARA - Riverside is a branch of the federal NARA offices. They hold historically valuable materials created and collected by Federal agencies and courts in Arizona, southern California, and
NARA - Riverside is a branch of the federal NARA offices. They hold historically valuable materials created and collected by Federal agencies and courts in Arizona, southern California, and Clark County, Nevada. These records constitute a major resource for the study of Native American history, Naval history, westward migration, Asian immigration, civil rights, and other subjects.
We Can Help! Special Collections staff are
available during our open hours to help you navigate these collections,
so feel free to come in for assistance! We're open Monday - Friday 9-5.
We also open until 7pm on Wednesdays while classes are in session.
What is a Finding Aid and how do I use one?
collections contain a wealth of original primary source
materials, stored in file folders within archival quality boxes. It is
impractical for you to physically sift through every box to determine
what each collection contains - some collections have hundreds of
A Finding Aid serves as an index or inventory of a manuscript/archival collection:
A finding aid will typically:
- Provide an overview
of the collection
- Describe the arrangement of the materials into
different "series" of like materials (e.g., Correpsondence, Writings,
Photographs, Journals, etc.)
- List each folder title within
each box of the collection.
Try this example:
Examine the Herman Baca Papers finding aid
as and example.
- Notice the arrangement of the finding aid.
- Scroll through the Abstract, Biography, and Scope and Content sections.
- Take a look at the Container List: notice some folder titles are
detailed, while other folder titles are more general.