Archival research takes many forms for the graduate student. Navigating catalogs, archive paperwork and decorum, the use of manuscripts, printed works, documents, and other various forms of media, as well as the regulations one must abide by when working in the archive can prove to be a difficult and confusing task. The complexity of this work is intensified when the researcher has never worked under archive conditions before. Often, graduate students enter the field unprepared for such work, and mistakes can be made in archive interactions which may affect the quality of the work.
The ability to use archives and original documents is a key research skill necessary in a variety of disciplines, and the Archives Brown Bag aims to teach graduate students how to prepare for archive research in the field through the experience of our own graduate students. Each brown bag will feature two Princeton students whose experiences in the archives will speak to their specific research specialty and field of study. The next Brown Bag session is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23rd at noon.
Martha Groppo (History) will discuss her experiences in archives in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. She will share lessons learned about doing research in major national repositories, but also strategies for approaching private and non-traditional collections ranging from museums and hospitals to historical sites and manor house collections. She will also discuss some of the challenges of accessing medical records and some strategies for organizing large amounts of archival information.