Skip to Main Content

Archives - What They Are and How to Use Them

This is a general guide to using archival materials - what they are, where to find them, how they are organized, and how to use them. For questions about using the ISU Special Collections and University Archives specifically, click the "questions" tab.


In general:

  • Wash your hands before handling original materials.
  • Make sure you work area is clean of dust, dirt, debris, food, liquids, or anything else that might damage the materials. Keep pets away.
  • Don't eat, drink, or smoke around the materials.
  • For film and photographs: Wear gloves or grasp these around their edges, rather than touching the front of the image. Oils from your fingers can transfer to the film or photograph and permanently damage them.
  • Work with fragile materials slowly.

Resources for Handling

Contact Us

Profile Photo
Special Collections & University Archives
403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University Library
Ames, IA 50011
515 294-6672