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How to use our collections

This page provides an introduction to understanding and using the Special Collections & University Archives at Iowa State University.

Archives - What They Are and How to Use Them

This page provides general information for researching in special collections and archives, in general. It is not specific to Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives.

 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 Using our Materials tab.

Contact us

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

Contact us before you visit!

You will get access to the materials much faster if you contact the archives in advance. Here's why:

  • Off-site/Library Storage Building materials can take up to seven business days to retrieve. Please email to request material and schedule your visit.
  • Related materials: Even if you have something specific you want to see (and know how to request it), we may have suggestions for other materials.
  • Check the holdings: As with most archives, many of our collections don't have detailed descriptions. If you're looking for a specific document or piece of information, contact the archives before making a trip so that you won't be disappointed if the collection doesn't have what you're looking for.
  • Research Help: We understand that using archives can be complicated. We know our collections and are truly happy to help!