primary sources thur march 27 n.
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primary sources thur march 27. Pop Quiz. Which digital collection(s) did you explore? Think about material in that collection…what sort of research questions/inquiries would the collection support? In other words, who would use this collection for research?

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pop quiz
Pop Quiz
  • Which digital collection(s) did you explore?
  • Think about material in that collection…what sort of research questions/inquiries would the collection support? In other words, who would use this collection for research?
  • Describe one difference between an “archive” and a “library”

primary sources

primary sources


primary sources

primary sources


manuscript and archival materials are unique resources that can be found in only one library or institution (though digital copies or copies on microfilm/microfiche may be available elsewhere)



a body of papers of an individual or a family

the records made or received and maintained by an institution or organization in pursuance of its legal obligations or in the transaction of its business

archives what do they keep
archives: what do they keep?
  • records which are no longer required for current use but have been selected for permanent preservation because of their evidential or informational value.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a state agency, and its offices and departments are obligated to follow the requirements of the North Carolina Public Records Law (North Carolina General Statute 132) for retention and disposition of records.

how are they organized
how are they organized?
  • depends…
  • “Finding Aid” - description of an archival collection, usually containing a history of the person or organization that produced the collection and an inventory of its contents
  • EAD Encoded Archival Description
    • XML standard used to encode data about archival materials
    • makes things easier to find in an electronic environment

def: process of evaluating records to determine their value and ultimate disposition

  • physical volume
  • frequency of use
  • administrative and operational need served by the record
  • legal and fiscal regulations governing retention
  • historical significance
  • economic advantage of moving the records from high cost office storage to low cost records storage space or direct disposal
  • whether this is the record copy or a duplicate
where how to access
where & how to access
  • think about who might have relevant records/material
    • government entity (international, national, state, county)
    • professional organization/society (e.g. state geological society)
    • dedicated entity (special collection – e.g. TWU’s WASP collection)
  • ask librarian
why would i ever use an archive
why would I ever use an archive?
  • legislation (statutes, regulations, and orders-in-council) and case law (decisions of courts and administrative tribunals)
  • genealogy / family tree
  • Popular culture / period pieces

December 1963: Members of several civil rights organizations staged this holiday march, carrying letters addressed to political leaders to urge anti-discrimination legislation. They requested that fellow Chapel Hill citizens follow suit to "Send Freedom Letters for Christmas."


Archivists normatively position themselves as impartial and honest brokering custodians of the past, immune from the pressures and persuasions that conflict the rest of contemporary society.

Consider the politics of record-making and record keeping and how they shape and often mis-shape the construction of the past and present.

Action or inaction

Wallace, D.A. (2011). Memory ethics – or the presence of the past in the present. Archival Science, 11, 1-12.

federal writers project papers
Federal Writers’ Project Papers
  • Southern Historical Collection

  • Online finding aids
  • Federal Writers’ Project