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How To Conduct Research in the IU Libraries University Archives

Tips for Searching Collections

Understanding "Folder Level" finding aids:

When searching our collections and finding aids, it is important to note that our collections are by folder level. This means that the materials inside the folder cannot be searched online. For example: You are looking for "John Doe" in a specific collection; however, you cannot find his name in the finding aid. This does not necessarily mean that "John Doe" is not in the collection. There might be a folder in the collection titled "Correspondence D-F." You would want to look in this folder to see if there is possibly any correspondence with "John Doe." Many of our correspondence files and subject files are organized either by date or alphabetically, which will help you determine if there is potentially something of interest in the folder. In the screenshot of the finding aid below, you will see that there is a "'A' General Correspondence, 1971-1982" folder. If the name of the individual you are searching is not listed, you would want to look in the "'A' General Correspondence" folder to make sure you are not missing anything.

Image of finding aid


Understanding the Organizational Structure for that Time Period:

Finding the organizational listing from the time period you are researching will enable you to better understand the history of your subject at Indiana University. The IU Bulletins and phone books are very useful in locating the office or officer most closely related to your subject. For example: If you want information about the IU Alumni Association, you would look for the file "Director, Alumni Relations" in the collection of President's Office files before the IUAA became a separate organization.