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History 100 - Researching in the Archives

This guide is designed to help HIST100 researchers locate University Archives collections and materials.

Searching for primary sources in University Archives (not digitized)

Many of the materials in the University Archives are not digitized yet. You can only find them in the Special Collections and Archives department in the Library. The staff of Special Collections and Archives are available to help you locate materials that would be helpful for your research. If you want to browse before you come to the archives, here are some places to start.

University Archives Register

The first place to begin your search for primary sources in University Archives is the University Archives Register, which lists the majority of collections in University Archives.

Link to University Archives Register

Collection-level finding aids 

Some of the collections listed in the register have their own inventories. These inventories describe what is in the collection, to a box or folder-level description. 

Here are some of the collections in University Archives that are helpful for HIST100:

Other collections as they are processed are available on the Online Archive of California

Online Archive of California

Cal Poly Demographics

Are you researching Cal Poly student demographics? Here are some resources:

Cal Poly's Office of Institutional Research

The Office of Institutional Research provides data from approximately 1998 onward at their website: 

Records prior to 1998 from the Office of Institutional Research are available in the University Archives.

Historic demographics and enrollment data 

University Archives collections include enrollment records starting with the first year of enrollment. They are not all digitized, so you will have to come in to Special Collections and Archives to consult the records. Data is divided by gender, ethnicity and race (starting Fall 1973), department, college, year, etc.

Digitized historic enrollment records

Some enrollment records have been digitized. You can see what we've digitized here: 

Facilities compiled a chart of enrollment from 1903-1997 here:


University Archives has enrollment data that you can request by emailing

Archiving websites

Special Collections and Archives has been capturing websites since 2015. You can search the websites we've captured here: 

For websites prior to 2015, you can check the Wayback Machine:

Let us know if there is a website we should be archiving:

Locating Senior Projects in the library

Students often write senior projects on Cal Poly topics and these senior projects can be considered primary sources that help understand Cal Poly history. Learn how to access senior projects here