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History 326 - University Archives Research

Digitized Online University Archives Resources

University Archives staff have digitized many of the materials in University Archives and provide public online access to these materials. They are accessed through Digital Commons (student publications, Academic Senate) and University Archives Online Collections (photos, yearbooks, catalogs, unpublished documents, audiovisual materials, etc.). You can search across these collections broadly at these links:

Tips for searching online: 

  • Use * as a wildcard. For example, searching Mex* will search Mexico, Mexican, and any word that begins with Mex.
  • Use quotation marks to search a phrase. Searching "International Students" will search for that phrase, rather than any use of international AND student.
  • Use Ctrl+F (PC) or Command+F (Mac) to search keywords inside a pdf.
  • Create an advanced search that searches the years you are focusing on to get targeted results
  • When you find a helpful source, see what terms the authors are using. Then try searching those terms as keywords.
  • Looking for a specific community? Try searching "country + student*" for example "Mexican student*"
  • Can't find what you are looking for? Broaden your search. Try searching "foreign student*" or "international student*" within the years you are researching. 
  • Searching for individuals: start with a search by their last name. Then expand. For example, I could be referred to as "Sorvetti," "Ms. Sorvetti", "Laura Sorvetti" "Laura Ann Sorvetti", "L. Sorvetti," "L.A.Sorvetti"....
  • If you find a specific news story, browse the issues before and after that article to see if there were any follow-up or related articles.

Searching within digitized collections

Or you can search within specific collections, which are listed here:

Course Catalogs

Student Newspapers

Cal Poly Report

Annual Reports 

  • Span: 1904 – present (only a selection are digitized)
  • Frequency: annual, irregular
  • Creator: President's Office
  • Annual Reports (selected, others are not yet digitized)

Cal Poly Academic Senate Minutes, Agendas, and Resolutions

El Rodeo Yearbooks

FYI about OCR

The computer uses something called "Optical Character Recognition" (OCR) to read the page. Depending on the quality of the original text, the text that the computer reads may not be clean. See this example: 

Sometimes you may not find what you are searching for because the computer did not read the text correctly! Try many different keywords to search if you are not finding what you are looking for.