Indiana University Bloomington has many individual archives and special collections that students have access to. Each contain their own content generally focused on a particular topic or medium. The descriptions, links, contact information are below. Keep in mind that requests may take several weeks to process.
Libraries and archives both exist as institutions designed to hold information, and in most cases, prepare that information for access to their users. They differ in several ways that can impact research.
Libraries contain mostly collections of books and are organized and supported for use and access. Material can be accessed at the library, online, or checked out for use at home.
Archives also strive to provide access to patrons, but the type of material held and the access methods differ from libraries. Archives contain both published and unpublished material in many different formats including, manuscripts, photos, letters, sound recordings, art, artifacts, and much more. Collections in archives are organized not for ease of access by users but to preserve and maintain the quality of their material for use by researchers now and in the future.
There are several different types of archives, each prioritizing a specific content and/or material type. Knowing the difference can aid researchers in knowing where to begin their research.
College and University Archives – College archives seek to collect and preserve material related to a specific academic institution. They serve the larger institution they are a part of, alumni, and the public.
Corporate Archives – These archives are usually a department within a company or corporation, they preserve material necessary for the needs of the company, staff, or business goals. These allow differing levels of access depending on individual company policy and staff availability.
Government Archives – These repositories collect material related to local, state, or federal government. They provide relatively open access to the public depending on the material requested.
Historical Societies and Community Archives – Historical societies seek to preserve a specific historical aspect of a region, period, community, etc. In general, access is available to the public. In some cases, they may have government holdings.
Museums – Museums have similar goals as archives in terms of preservation, but they focus more on exhibitions. Repositories may have an attached museum and museums may have an associated archive or special collections library.
Religious Archives – These archives specialize in the traditions or institutions of a faith denomination or place of worship. Some are open to the public, while others only serve members of the faith group they represent.
Special Collections – These institutions contain a variety of materials from individuals, families, organizations, etc. which are deigned to have historical value. Subject matter often varies widely. In addition, these libraries are often a branch or department within a larger institution and holds their most valuable or rarest materials.