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In some instances researchers need to work with primary materials that are located in archives. Conducting research using archives is a more complex matter than researching in the stacks of the Deakin University Library. You will find that there are different rules, and these will vary according to the archive.

The primary source material that you are seeking may be located a distance from your home, or even overseas. Textbooks, articles and theses will provide citations to primary source material and this should give you some indication of which archives you will need to access. University libraries, governments and some other organisations hold archival collections.

  • Located in Canberra, but with reading rooms in each State capital and Darwin, the National Archives of Australia’s collection consists primarily of material created since Federation by agencies of the Australian Government. Most records in the collection are files, but there are also significant holdings of photographs, posters, maps, architectural drawings, films, scripts, musical scores and sound recordings. Their website contains detailed information on the collection and how to access it.
  • Like all universities, Deakin University has a Special Collection. The collection is made up of specialised research collections, in addition to many items which need special care because of their age, beauty, rarity or for other qualities that make them valuable as objects as well as for research.
  • Details of the Special Collections of other Australian universities can be obtained from their library websites.
  • The Archives Hub provides a single point of access to descriptions of archives held in UK universities and colleges.

The websites of the various archives and special collections will usually detail access arrangements and contact details. Take time to browse the website to find out when and how you can view the holdings. Remember that material can sometimes be housed off-site, or may have special restrictions on access, It is a good idea to contact the archive, by telephone, email or via a reference inquiry form, before making a visit, so that you can confirm any requirements, and also obtain assistance from the most appropriate archival staff.

Information courtesy of the Faculty of Arts and Education.