(she/her/hers) Reference and instruction specialist for Kennedy Library's Special Collections and Archives. Background in the study of history and K-12 teaching. CP Alum. Not-practicing letterpress printer. Passionate about increasing use and access to archives.
Special Collections and Archives
Kennedy Library, Cal Poly
Gaps and Silences in Archives and Special Collections
While archives have been viewed as unbiased repositories of the past, they are in fact spaces of gaps and silences. These gaps and silences are due to historical, institutional, and internalized racism, classism, sexism, and ignorance of marginalized genders and sexualities. Bias enters both into what you find or don't find in the the archives--archival silence--and what you read in the archivist's description. Archives have never been neutral.
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. If you have questions, please contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can reach us via email (email@example.com) and you can schedule an online appointmentto meet with staff on Zoom to get help with your research.
Summer and Fall Quarter Archives Instruction Sessions: Special Collections and Archives offers remote synchronous and asynchronous instruction for Summer and Fall Quarter 2020. Contact Laura Sorvetti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Online Archive of California: Detailed descriptions of primary source collections available through Cal Poly Special Collections and Archives (and other California cultural heritage organizations). The collections described here are not currently accessible onsite, but some of the descriptions include links to digital copies from the collections.
Primary sources are physically located in Special Collections and Archives and may be available online.
Special Collections and Archives houses archival collections, which are collections of original unpublished, historical and contemporary material – in other words, primary sources. Before you visit the archives, you can save time and effort if you first:
Note the hours of Special Collections and Archives. Explore Special Collections' website and any special use that may apply (registration, storage, appointments, requesting materials, etc.)
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE: Search the library catalog to find the titles and call numbers of specific books.
If you need to use primary sources, look to see if the collection has a finding aid. Some finding aids list the contents of collections, box by box, folder by folder; others are less detailed. Some finding aids are available online via the Online Archive of California (the primary source itself may or may not be online).
What Is an Archival Collection?
Archival collections consist of the records and personal papers of individuals or organizations
Collections include records that document the activities of creator
Unpublished correspondence, subject files, photographs, broadsides/posters, reports, manuscripts, and records
Archivists use finding aids to describe archival collections
Finding aids consist of three primary parts: biographical history, scope and content, and inventory