Research Tips

  • Make an appointment - most archives are held out of public view in dark basements and staff need time to retrieve documents on your time on the day will be wasted.

  • If you can, obtain a catalog of items available and pre-request the ones you want to start with.

  • Bundles of documents are often indexed hierachically. For example archive SBX123 will contain documents like SBX123/70 and that in term may have sub-documents SBX123/70/1/1-8 This is important because archives often limit how many documents you can pre-order and view at one time. The archivist may allow you all of SBX123/70 if it contains lots of small parts, but you might be disappointed if you just ask for SBX123/70/1/5 and it turns out to be a single piece of paper.

  • Take a camera. Most archives will charge either for photocopying, cameras or both but by taking copies you can continue to enjoy what you've found once you get back home.

  • A tripod is useful too to steady your camera/phone and get good quality images.

  • When photographing images, if you have one, a non reflective A4 glass pane would have been very useful for keep images flat without also damaging them.

  • Magnifying glasses are often provided but very useful if you have a favourite.

  • Pencils are often provided, because pens are not allowed.