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Archives & Special Collections

Finding and Accessing Collection Materials

Records for all holdings of books, printed materials, and archival collections appear in OneSearch.

Special Collections-Reserves: items displaying this location can be requested at the 1st floor Library Circulation Desk and borrowed for a two-hour period with a valid CUNY ID for use in the Library.

Archives 1L-216 or Special Collections 1L-216: items displaying these locations can be used by making an appointment with Archives & Special Collections. These materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives & Special Collections Reading Room in 1L-216 (2nd floor).

Physically Accessing the Collections

Access to manuscript materials is provided solely through the Archives & Special Collections Reading Room, which is located on the Library’s second floor in Room 216. For hours and directions, please click here.

Please be aware that you will need to present current photographic identification to security personnel in order to enter the CSI Library.

Outerwear, bags, loose papers, folders, pens, highlighters, food or drink, and other personal items are not allowed in the Reading Room.

Lockers and a coat rack are provided for your use. Only pencils, notebooks, and laptop computers are allowed inside the reading room.

You will be asked to complete a registration form giving contact information, institutional affiliation, and the purpose of your visit.

If you have contacted the Archives ahead of time, the material you requested may be ready for you to use. If not, you may search for materials and fill out call slips for items to be paged. It is strongly recommended that you conduct preliminary research before coming to the archives.

Procedures for Handling the Collections

Once you have determined which items you wish to see, please fill out call slips in order to request items. Call slips are available at the registration desk.

Please make sure that your hands are clean before using materials.

Researchers will be given one box of materials at a time from manuscript or archival collections. The box should remain on a cart beside the researcher table and only folders should be placed on the table.

When using archival materials, maintain the exact order of folders in a box and of items within a folder.

If items seem to be out of order, please notify the staff.

Exercise care to prevent damage to materials. Materials must not be written on, traced on, leaned on, altered, newly folded or handled in a way that may cause damage. Please use only paper slips for marking your place. Rubber bands, post-it notes, paper clips and other objects may cause damage to the material.

Please remove the paper slips prior to returning to material to the registration desk. If you need assistance with the handling of any material, please contact the staff. Please notify the staff when you are finished using materials.

Using Finding Aids

Finding aids are used to describe archives and manuscript collections in order to provide access to their contents. Finding aids provide information about both the creator(s) of the records and the records themselves. An inventory is sometimes used in place of a finding aid, and generally does not include a Historical Note, Scope & Contents Note, Arrangement, or Series Descriptions. Rather, the inventory contains basic information and a brief abstract about the collection, and a container listing of its contents. Finding aids have several components:

· Title: The title provides information on the title for the collection and the date range of the records that make up the collection.

· Overview of the Collection: This section follows the title and provides information regarding the size of the collection, its collection number, its creator, and the date range of its records. The Overview also includes a brief abstract about the collection's records and creator.

· Administrative Information: This section contains information regarding preferred citation format, and the history (provenance) of the records in the collection and their acquisition. There is also information on what persons processed the collection for research.

· Restrictions: This section addresses access restrictions (if any) and copyright restrictions.

· Biographical Sketch, Administrative History or Historical Note: This section provides information on the history of creator of the records, whether the creator is an individual, family, office or organization. Historical information on the creator of the records allows for a better understanding of the collection. This section might be in either a narrative or a chronological format, or both. Some finding aids include a Chronology in addition to a Historical Note, Administrative History or Biographical Sketch.

· Scope & Contents Note: This section describes the strengths and weaknesses of the collection as a whole. The section will indicate not only which topics, materials and time periods are strongly represented in the collection, but also if there is a lack of representation in a area where a researcher would expect to find records. The Scope & Contents Note also describes the arrangement of the records in the collection.

· Arrangement: This section shows the hierarchical arrangement scheme for the records in the collection. An inventory will usually not include this section.

· Index Terms: This section includes the terms that would be used to index the collection in a library catalog. Index terms include subject terms, personal names, and organization names.

· Series Descriptions & Container Listing: A series is a unit of records that has been grouped together based on a common function or format, or because of a relationship arising from their creation or use. The Series Descriptions would include the name of the series and a description, date range and extent for its contents. A records series may be further divided into subseries. Each series (or subseries) description is followed by a listing of its contents. The container list includes a listing of the folders or items contained in the collection. This listing includes the box and/or folder numbers, the item or folder’s title and the date range of the record(s).

Citing Unpublished Materials

Citations acknowledge the ideas of others and provide documentation of the source material for future researchers. When citing materials, researchers should use the citation method preferred in their academic discipline and provide citation information that allows for identification and retrieval of the specific material used in the research.

In the case of unpublished materials, Kate L. Turabian1, following the Chicago Manual of Style, suggests:

When a specific unpublished document is first discussed in the paper, include the pertinent facts within the text and in summary form within the note. In the note, list the author’s name first or, if using a letter, list it in conjunction with a correspondent. If no author can be established, begin the note with the document’s title, if any, in quotation marks. If the document has both an author and a title, the title in quotation marks should follow the author’s name. The description of the document should follow the title if there is one, otherwise it follows the author’s name…If the document is dated, the date should follow. Next give the full name of the collection the manuscript belongs to…the full name of the repository follows…and next its location by city, and, if needed, state. Last comes the page number, if any.

For example, when citing an item from the Assemblywoman Elizabeth A. Connelly Papers:

New York State Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, “Final Report,” December 1995, The Assemblywoman Elizabeth A. Connelly Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Department of the Library, College of Staten Island, CUNY, Staten Island, New York, PAGE NUMBER.

Additional information may be added to the citation including the record series name and/or number, box number and folder title and/or number. Although this information is not required in the citation, it will provide more precise location information for the material cited in the research.

To use the same citation with the series name, box number and folder title:

New York State Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, “Final Report,” December 1995, Series: Subject Files, Box 2, Alzheimer’s Disease, 1995-2000 [folder], The Assemblywoman Elizabeth A. Connelly Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Department of the Library, College of Staten Island, CUNY, Staten Island, New York, PAGE NUMBER.

To use the same citation with the series name, box number and folder number:

New York State Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, “Final Report,” December 1995, Series: Subject Files, Box 2, Folder 5, The Assemblywoman Elizabeth A. Connelly Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Department of the Library, College of Staten Island, CUNY, Staten Island, New York, PAGE NUMBER.

Subsequent references to the same collection can use a shorter citation form, and should identify the item, date and an abbreviated collection name. Information concerning the location of the item in the collection (Series, Box Number and Folder Title and/or Folder Number) can be added as necessary.