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UCA Library Blog

How to Utilize the UCA Archives!

by Elizabeth DiPrince on 2020-01-23T14:51:27-06:00 | Comments

Guest post by Heather Reinold, Library Technician for Archives

Hours of Operation:

Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm
Torreyson Library Room 144

Big Rules of the Archives: 

  • No food. No drink. No pens. 
  • No materials are allowed to leave the Archives.
  • Be specific and know what materials you want before your visit (see below).
  • Your BearCard, or other form of I.D., will be needed, so have it with you.

Using the Archives:

At the UCA Archives, we ask that you have some things prepared when you come in to do research: primarily, a list of materials you wish to look at. The best way to do that is to go to our website

Before you come to the Archives: 

Look through what materials we have. Go to the “Collections” Tab to see a drop down list of the types of collections we house. Here’s a breakdown of what these collections mean:

  • Manuscript Collections - have one or more boxes of materials. 
  • Small Manuscript Collections - small enough to fit within a folder. These can include primary or secondary sources depending on the collection. Student papers are secondary sources, and their bibliographies can help to further your research. 
  • Map Collections - contain maps on a national, regional, state, county, etc. level.
  • Rare Newspaper Collection - (note: some are too fragile for patron use).
  • Pamphlet Collection - pamphlets, brochures, programs, etc., or materials that were produced for a singular event. Contents include primary and secondary sources. Check with the Archives Technician for assistance.
  • Schedler Honors College Papers - papers written by students in the Schedler Honors College program. Like the Small Manuscript Collections, bibliographies from student papers can help further your own research.
  • Photograph Collection - large collections of photographs.

The Manuscript Collections page has several subject or topic boxes at the top that can be used to find collections of interest. You can also use CTRL “F” on your keyboard to pull up a search box to pick out certain words, such as Little Rock Central High, Women, World War II, etc. This is also a great way to search through the other collections.

However, the best way to research the collections is to browse through the short bios. Once you’ve settled on a particular collection that looks promising, click on the blue “view finding aid” link. This link takes you to what Archivists call a “Finding Aid,” and it is your best friend!

The Finding Aid is an inventory of the materials in this collection and in each box. For example the Mary Caviness Collection (M86-09) has only one box and is arranged like so in the finding aid:
Box 1
File 1 - Correspondence, 1900-1959 (1 of 2)
File 2 - Correspondence, 1900-1959 (2 of 2)
File 3 - Business Papers, 1895-1942
File 4 - Business Papers, 1943-1962
File 5 - Miscellaneous Papers
End of Box 1
End of Collection
The reason why finding aids are so helpful is because they tell you what’s in the collection, and they help the staff member retrieve the files you want to look at!


What to bring with you:

Bring the following information from your online search:

  1. The Collection Name (e.g. Mary Caviness Collection)
  2. The Collection Number (M86-09)
  3. The Series and Subseries if necessary
  4. The Box Number 
  5. The File Number
You will need to hand this information, as well as your ID, to a staff member in the Archives. Remember, nothing leaves the Archives! You can take photos with your phone or use the copier, under staff supervision. Some collections will have copyright protections, so be advised to bring pencil and paper, or a laptop to take notes.
For other materials such as Small Manuscript Collections, Pamphlets, and Honors College Papers, you’ll need the call number and title:
  • SMC #4 - John Gould Fletcher Letters
  • PAM 3 - Report of the Secretary of War - February 28, 1851
  • HC: 86-04 - Hawkins, Judy, “Our Responsibility to the Hungry,” 1986.

For books, you will also need the call number, which can be located in the catalog:

If you ever need assistance, ask the Archives Technician!

Special Projects: 

The UCA Archives is highlighting members of the UCA Community on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for Black History Month and Women’s History Month! 

This fall the Archives will be hosting a traveling exhibit titled Women Across the Delta from the Arts & Science Center of Southeast Arkansas. 

We are digitizing some of our collections! All of the Scroll yearbooks are online, which has been a 5+ year project; we have illustrated finding aids for some of our photo collections; and we will soon have materials from our manuscript collections online. 

Follow us to get notifications on new projects, materials, and updates on hours and services! 

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