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Malone University Archives: Home

A guide to the different archival collections held by Malone University and how to access their materials.

Welcome to the Archives!

This guide is meant to be an introduction to the world of archives and the archival resources available at Malone University.  Peruse the information and resources here to help you identify the unique research materials available in the archives world.


If you have any questions or confusion, do not panic!  Archives are very different from libraries and even veteran scholars may feel displaced.  For further information or assistance, do not hesitate to contact me, by email, phone, or by visiting the Cattell Library.

What is a Finding Aid?

Archival materials generally do not get catalog records like books or periodicals.  Instead, they get a finding aid.  A good finding aid will give you information about the collection, such as the origination of the materials, the types of materials, the history of the creator, important dates, and the size of the collection. 

Many finding aids, including those produced by the Malone Archives, also give a list of series, boxes, and folders within the collection.  This information gives researchers a roadmap for planning their archival visit.  It is not a full index that tells you every paper in a box, but it will tell you what types of papers (meeting minutes, official correspondence, photographs, etc.) are present and their time periods.

Some of our archival collections are included in OhioLINK's Finding Aid Repository. You can access that information at


Archives Large and Small

Archives range from tiny family collections to the incomprehensibly massive collections of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  While many digital archives collections are accessible 24/7 to anyone with an internet connection, the vast majority exist only in their original, unique form.  Archival research must be well-planned, as you will most likely need to visit more than one archives to find all of your information

The following list will take you to some archival resources at the federal, state, and local level.

What Makes Materials "Archival"?

Unlike libraries, archives are filled primarily with unpublished, unedited, unique materials, such as letters, reports, meeting minutes, raw photographs and early drafts of other documents.  In short, an archives provides the source material for the published books you find in libraries and bookstores.  Materials become archival when they cease to be of use for their original purpose.  An example from the Malone Archives is a class schedule.  Your schedule is useful during the semester it details.  When that semester ends, it probably seems useless and worthy of nothing but the recycle bin.  However, a century later, that schedule becomes an insight into your life as a student and into the workings of the school.  It tells what courses were offered, how classes were organized, and possibly something about the facilities and instructors.  It will never again serve its original purpose of directing you to your class on a given date, but it still provides value to researchers in ways never expected by those who printed that schedule.

Famed archivist T. R. Schellenberg described this distinction as primary and secondary values.  In a 1956 bulletin, he said that records "are preserved in an archival institution because they have values that will exist long after they cease to be of current use, and because their values will be for others than the current users."  Because of this, collections of family papers, school documents, church records, etc. are kept in an archives in a controlled environment, stored in long-term archival storage materials (such as acid-free folders, lignin-free boxes, or polyethylene sleeves), and accessed only with great care.  The job of an archivist is not to determine the research value of a collection, but to make it available for all scholars, since we can't begin to know what value the information of today will hold for the scholars of the future.


Subject Guide

Before Visiting...

Keep in mind these rules when planning your archives visit:

  • Soft-leaded pencils only!  No pens, markers, or other inking materials are allowed.
  • Check your bags!  You may be asked to leave your backpacks and other bags with library staff while using archival materials.
  • Clean hands!  Gloves may be provided when you handle certain materials, but in general clean, dry hands are a must.

Call ahead or email to make an appointment before visiting to ensure that the materials you wish to see are available.