Research with Archives
Archives house original documents and materials and contain many primary sources to can help you understand more about a historical period and its context.
FINDING ARCHIVAL MATERIALS
Archival materials include documents, diaries, letters, photographs, scrapbooks and other materials created during or shortly after the events they discuss. Archivists organize these materials and create a finding aid to help researchers identify and locate materials relevant to their project. Some finding aids detail each item in a collection, but most provide only a general description of what the collection holds.
For definitions of archival terms, see A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology.
Archives at UNE
We are home to several archival collections here at UNE.
- The Maine Women Writers Collection
- The New England Osteopathic Heritage Center
- University History Collections
- Special Collections & Archives
Search UNE Archives
The archives are located in our Portland Campus and Biddeford Campus Libraries. Visit during open hours or by appointment.
Books & Periodicals
To find books & periodicals in our archival collections use the advanced search and limit the location to the collection name. Search for terms such as: archives, correspondence, description and travel, diaries, early works, or personal narratives.
You can find a wide array of digitized material on nearly every subject at repositories across the country. Some reputable sources for historical material include:
- Library of Congress
- Smithsonian Libraries
- Digital Public Library of America
- New York Public Library
- Maine Memory Network
- Internet Archive
- LGBTQ Oral History Hub
If the material you are interested in has not been digitized, you may need to visit the archives. Contact the archivist of the collection you would like to visit so that you can be sure that the material you want to see is available. Most welcome all levels of research questions, and visitors from casual users to post-doctoral scholars.
If you are unable to visit the archives contact the archivist to discuss this possibility of having material digitized.
USING ARCHIVES IN YOUR RESEARCH
Researchers use archival materials to understand the past and craft narratives to contextualize historical events, movements and ideas. Look at a primary source and ask:
- What is it? Who created it?
- When and where was it created?
- How was it made? What evidence is contained in the object?
- Why might this have been created? Who was the intended audience?
- What else do you need to know to understand it?
- What sources might help to contextualize this object?
- How does this object support my research?
Citing Primary Sources
To cite items from our collections, the general format is:
[Item], [Collection Name], [Collection], University of New England, [Campus Location], Maine.
Example: Letter to Gilbert Tracy (1902), Elizabeth Akers Allen papers, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine.
QUESTIONS & HELP
If you have questions on this, or another, topic, contact a librarian for help!
For information about UNE’s archival collections see the collection website.