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Special Collections and Archives

Tips and tools for researching primary sources in Special Collections and Archives and online


Welcome! We created this guide as an intro to Cal Poly's Special Collections and Archives. Use the links on the left to explore this guide.

We also have archives guides going in depth on many topics, which you can browse:

Special Collections is located in the Kennedy Library, fourth floor, room 409. You can also reach us through email or set up a time to meet virtually. We are here to help with whatever archives and primary source questions you have. Everyone is welcome in the archives.

Special Collections and Archives Updates during COVID-19

While the Special Collections and Archives reading room is currently closed to the public, Special Collections and Archives staff continue to offer remote reference support and you can access our digitized archives online. 

You can reach us via email ( and you can schedule an online appointment to meet with staff on Zoom to get help with your research.

Archives Instruction Sessions: Special Collections and Archives offers remote synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Contact Laura Sorvetti at

Library updates: Check out the library's informational page on accessing library resources and services remotely. 

Special Collections and Archives Online Resources

Many digitized primary sources and collections from the archives are available online. Here is an overview of our online collections:

Online Archive: An archive of over 40,000 items, ranging from 1870 – present, including historic photographs, documents, sound recordings, architectural plans and videos.

Online Archive

Student newspapers and campus documents online:

The student newspaper is available from 1916-2011 on Digital Commons:

Student Newspaper

This repository also provides access to a selection of campus documents and publications, including Academic Senate.

Campus Documents

Web archives: Since 2015, Special Collections and Archives has been archiving the websites of the University, Mustang News, KCPR, and organizations that have donated their paper-based collections to the archives. The content of the web archives is searchable, and includes Youtube channels, select official social media accounts, and documents hosted online by the University.

Web Archives

Online Archive of California: Detailed descriptions of primary source collections available at Cal Poly Special Collections and Archives (and other California cultural heritage organizations). Links to Online Archive when there are digitized materials available from the collections,.

Online Archive of California