Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reaching Students through Archives and Manuscript Resources

A continuing goal for personnel in the Archives and Special Collections Research Center is to increase awareness and use of its unique resources among Ball State’s students. We strive to reach as many students as possible through the following ways:

• Articles and publications
• Development of digital resources
• e-Mail
• Group presentations
• Individual consultations
• Instructional sessions
• Online and in-house exhibits
• Web pages

For the academic year 2005-2006 that has just ended, monthly use statistics for the Archives showed an overall increase of nearly 12% in combined reference, research, and directional questions compared to the same period in 2004-2005. Student use of the Archives was 72% of our total use. Of the total number of student users, undergraduates accounted for 78% and graduate students made up the remaining 22%.

The number of instruction sessions for classes in the Archives Center increased by almost 23% compared to last year. A large number of the students attending the instruction sessions returned to the Archives to conduct research and use materials for papers, speeches, and other class projects.

A few examples of classes using the Archives and Special Collections Research Center this year include:
• Architectural classes: Design 201; Introduction to Social and Cultural Issues in Design 253; Preservation and Documentation of Historic Buildings 426; Architecture History 495; Directed Research 573; and Research Methods 652
• Educational Foundations: History of Education 641
• English classes: Fundamentals of English Composition101; English Composition 104; Experimental Topics 299; Creative Nonfiction Writing 306; Poetry Writing 408; Research in English Studies 601; Seminar in Literature 650
• History classes: Laboratory Course in American History 320; Public History 420; Seminar in Historical Research 613
• Graphic Design 180
• Honors Colloquium 390, with 16 meetings in Archives

Technology is playing a vital role in helping the Archives and Special Collections Research Center to reach out to increase access and use. Development of digital resources from the Archives in the Digital Media Repository,, is an exciting and innovative avenue for providing access to photographs, audio and video files, rare documents, and other primary sources for students to use anywhere, anytime.

Archives personnel are always looking for opportunities to reach students and increase their use of archives and manuscript resources for their academic success. We welcome ideas from students, faculty, and everyone. The unique resources accessible in the Archives and online can provide new dimensions for student learning, research, and academic productivity.

For more information, contact John B. Straw, Ball State University Libraries’ Director for Archives and Special Collections Research Center,, (765) 285-5078.


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