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URBS 3993-002: Urban Studies Senior Seminar: The Built Environment (Rocco)

Prof. Mary Rocco, Spring 2020

Finding Archives and Special Collections

On-campus Archives

Access Policies: 

  • ​Each Columbia University archive and special collection has its own access policies and hours. You will need to make appointments and request specific items to view several days in advance. Plan ahead and bring a pencil (no pens)!
  • In order to use the Columbia University Archives, the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH), and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML), you are required to register for a Special Collections Research Account before their visit and validate it in-person with your Barnard/Columbia ID (or government issued photo identification).

Off-campus Archives

  • ArchiveGrid includes over four million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more from over 1,000 different archival institutions. Search all collections by keyword, or find archives by location (scroll down the list on the home page and locate archives by country).
  • National Archives & National Libraries can be great places to look for material for your project. If not listed in ArchiveGrid, try searching in Google for the country name with "national archives" or "national library". You can do an advanced Google search, limiting your results to the domain of the country you are researching.
  • For other types of archives, try searching for organization names, people, topics, etc. and add "archives" or "digital collections". 

Searching for primary sources in CLIO

Search the CLIO Catalog to find primary sources by adding keywords to your search, or look for them in the Subject - Genre filter. Here are some examples:

  • archives
  • bibliography
  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • documentary
  • interviews
  • maps
  • memoirs
  • narratives
  • newspapers
  • pamphlets
  • photos
  • oratory
  • speeches
  • sources

Selected primary source databases

Browse Databases in CLIO by resource type (Archival Catalogs, Image Collections, Map & Atlas Collections, Newspaper Collections, etc.).

Primary sources in other libraries