How to do Research in Special Collections
The process of doing research in Special Collections can sometimes be complex owing to the range of materials in our care and the varying methods of accessing information about them. The staff of Special Collections welcomes the opportunity to introduce you to our collections and assist you with your research. Below are descriptions of some of the resources that may help you get started.
Tripod, the Tri-College Library Catalog, contains records of all circulating and rare books in Special Collections. Searches may be limited by location to Haverford College Special Collections. Tripod also contains collection-level records (overviews) of manuscript collections, as well as records for selected fine art and photographs.
More detailed records of manuscript collections may be found in our paper and online finding aids. These guides usually describe the collections by box and folder and sometimes at the level of individual items within a folder. There are also finding aids for non-manuscript collections including photography and newspaper collections. Some of our collections are best searched using our existing in-house card catalogs. We also maintain a collection of physical reference resources which may be consulted in the reading room.
A small but growing number of our resources have been digitized and may be accessed online. Triptych, the Tri-College Digital Library, contains some manuscript and printed collections, selections from the college archives, including historical photographs. Selections from the fine arts collection are available on Triarte, accessible only from within the Tri-Colleges IP Range. Senior theses as well as oral histories related to the College and Quakerism may be found on the Tri-College’s DSpace Repository . A select number of Quaker and Peace related websites as well as the College’s website are regularly archived. These sites may be searched together or browsed individually.
A collection of subject guides designed to gather important electronic and physical resources by topic may be useful in beginning a research project. Some of the guides that may be especially helpful include those on Genealogy, History, History—Primary Resources, Peace Studies, Quaker Studies, and Religion.
Special Collections is comprised of a wide variety of printed, manuscript and graphic materials. Researchers interested in visiting the collections in person are strongly encouraged to make an appointment in advance.
If it is impossible to come in person, we can do a half hour of research free of charge, provided we have detailed information. Please describe the specific information desired, including the time period, names, geographical location, etc., so that we can narrow our focus. We accept requests via email and post, and we handle requests in the order received.
There will be a charge for any photocopying or scanning you request, and payment must be received prior to filling the request. Be sure to confirm the costs in advance of submitting your payment and request, however, as some materials are too fragile to be photocopied at all, and it is not always possible to do an accurate page count from the on-line finding aids.
We welcome the opportunity to introduce Special Collections materials into the classroom. We are available for bibliographic instruction sessions or curricular planning, and we are happy to have classes and campus groups visit Special Collections by appointment. Please let us know how we can be of assistance.