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English Research Methods: Home

Archives & Special Collecitons

What Are Archives ?

"An Archives (often written with a capital A and usually, but not always, in the plural) is an organization dedicated to preserving the documentary heritage of a particular group: a city, a province or state, a business, a university, or a community. For example, the National Archives and Records Administration in the United States."

- Society of American Archives. "What Are Archives?" Last updated


What Are Special Collections ?

"1. a cohesive collection of non-circulating research materials held together by provenance or by a thematic focus

2. an institution or an administrative unit of a library responsible for managing materials outside the general library collection, including rare books, archives, manuscripts, maps, oral history interviews, and ephemera."

Society of American Archivists. "Special Collections." Dictionary of Archives Terminology. Accessed April 7, 2021.

Library Visit Worksheet

Finding Collections

  • WorldCat
    • A database of catalog records from over 57,000 libraries worldwide. Includes over 62 million records describing books, periodicals, sound recordings, videos, musical scores, archival materials, maps, electronic resources, and much more, in over 400 different languages

  • ArchiveGrid
    • Over 500,000 records describing archival collections around the world.

Session Resources by Topic

  1. Indian Literature
    1. Virtual
      1. National Mission for Manuscripts
    2. Archives & Special Collections Item(s)
      1. The Economy of human life : trans. from an Indian manuscript / written by an ancient Bramin ; with elegant cuts by A. Anderson. – Philadelphia : Johnson & Warner, 1810. – 180 p. : ill. ; 14 cm. – Incomplete copy: all after p. 180 missing.
      2. The True history of Zoa, the beautiful Indian (daughter of Henrietta de Belgrave), and of Rodomond “an East India merchant” …  / By J.W.H. Payne. – Philadelphia : Freeman Scott, 1828. – 72 p. ; 14 cm.
  2. creative writing in the fantasy genre
    1. Virtual
      1. Northern Illinois University Science Fiction & Fantasy Collections
    2. ASC
      1. Bruce Cassiday. Modern Mystery, Fantasy, And Science Fiction Writers. New York: Continuum, 1993.
      2. Weird Tales     Oct. 1936        28        3
  3. the Hero's Journey and other storytelling elements
    1. Virtual
      1. Joseph Campbell Papers 1905-1995 (NYPL)
    2. ASC
      1. Flo Keyes. The literature of hope in the Middle Ages and today. McFarland & Co., 2006.
      2. The Iliad and Odyssey / of Homer ; trans. By Pope. – New ed. – London : C. Bathurst, 1783. -- 4 v. ; 15 cm.  - Closest Match.
  4. diversity blogging
    1. Virtual
      1. Inside Higher Ed – Conversations on Diversity
      1. Juniata College Admissions Student Blogs Circa 2016
  5. comparative literary analysis, likely involving feminist theory
    1. Virtual
      1. Feminist Theory Archive (Brown)
    2. ASC
      1. Reflections on the present condition of the female sex : with suggestions for its improvement / By Priscilla Wakefield. -- London : J. Johnson, 1798.
      2. Woman : Sketches of the history, genius ... in all parts of the world / By a friend to the sex [i.e., John Adams.] -- London : G. Kearsley, 1790. -- viii, 400 p. ; 18 cm.

  6.  how social media is used in protest movements
    1. Virtual
      1. #blacklivesmatter Web Archive - ArchiveIt
    2. ASC
      1. Abbie Hoffman. Revolution for the Hell of It.  New York, Pocket Books, 1970
  7. how literature evokes empathy in readers.
    1. Virtual
      1. Berg Collection – NYPL           OR
      2. Children’s Literature – University of Michigan  
    2. ASC
      1. Books and reading: a lecture Atkinson, William P. (William Parsons), 1820-1890. (Pamphlet)