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Primary Sources

Tips for Successful Research Using Special Collections Materials

Begin early. Primary source research can be very time-consuming and involve lots of different collections. Don’t wait till the last minute!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Research can be difficult, and everyone needs help using special collections and archives.

Be flexible. You may not find what you want to or expect to find—don’t get hung up if you can’t find the exact piece of information that you need. Keep your mind open to everything you see.

Keep things in order. Remember to keep each folder in order in the box, and all items in order within the folder. Turn items over one at a time. Help us preserve the collections for generations of researchers!

Your citation will vary depending on which style guide you use, but make sure that all of the following information is included in your citation: [Identification of item, folder title, box number], [Name of the collection, date range], Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.