The focus of this class requires you to work in both familiar and unfamiliar territory. Not only will you be conducting 'everyday' research in books, articles and virtual sources, but now you are expanding into archival research. Many scholars never work in archives, but there are exceptional resources in these special collections. For successful research outcomes, it is important to understand the wonders and limitations of working in archival sources.
First, archives have some basic differences in how they operate and their fundamental principles from libraries. This generates different guidelines on collection content and access.
Note the term "special collections". You will see this term used sometimes interchangeably with "archives". They are related-- archives and special collections are generally capturing history. But a special collection can be materials assembled from many creators with a common subject where archives are generated by an individual or entity and may cover many subjects. In many institutions, the two are housed together and share the same access and usage rules.
Comparing Libraries to Archives/Special Collections
Materials are published in multiple copies
|Most items are unique|
Collect a broad range of information, for entertainment, business, education purposes and each item stands on its own
|Narrow focus on specific collections and primary purpose is historical research, important as a group of related items in a historical context|
Building is generally open to anyone and materials can be taken from building
|Access by appointment, some archives require reference letters, materials do not leave reading room|
Weed as needed to keep collection current
|Nothing discarded except in the most extreme circumstances|
|Materials handled with care, but wear and tear is expected||
Conservation is a primary concern, requiring special containers, climate control, and handling
|Collections are generally open and browseable||
Materials are kep in locked space and retrieved on request
|Individual items are organized by subject or author using Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal or MESH standards and discovered using an electronic catalog||
Collections of items are organized by provenance (creator) and may be searched using finding aids and consultation with the archivist
|Digital resources are through licensed user access (databases and e-books)||
Archival collections, if digital, are generally free access.
Archival & Primary Sources
This page identifies types of primary and archival resources, using Cesar Chavez as the example.
Historical newspapers such as the San Diego Union and Los Angeles Times, as well as ethnic or local papers such as found in the Hispanic American Newspapers or Ethnic Newswatch databases.
Look through library catalogs for diaries, memoirs, recollections and correspondence by and about the subject.
Cesar Chavez Collection (From the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive)
United Farm Workers
CSUSM Archives: see the record groups for Cesar Chavez Statue and Plaza AND Hispanic Advisory Committee (not digitized)
Search "Cesar Chavez" site:csusm.edu to find various activities, observances and more
While researchers find primary source material extremely important, it is also necessary to look at the secondary literature generated through scholarly research. This is not only to see what others have said but develop a full understanding of the topic and possible controversies.
The databases listed here are suggested starting points. A alternate search method is to use the Articles+ search on the library home page. This will return an overwhelming number of results.
| America: History & Life
Abstracts of journal articles covering American & Canadian history, from pre-history to the present.
|Links to full-text via Get-It||1964 to current||All|
| San Diego Union Newspaper Archive
Collection of newspapers published in San Diego under various titles, including the San Diego Union.
|Full-text||1872 to 1983|
Contains (EXCEPT for the latest five years) core scholarly journals in sociology, history, economics, political science, mathematics, African-American & Asian studies, literature, humanities, music, and biological, health & general sciences.
|Full-text||1838 to most recent five years||Most|
| Ethnic NewsWatch
Full-text ethnic newspapers, searchable in English or Spanish.
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||1992 to current||None|
Available via EbscoHost: A comprehensive international database of psychology, covering the academic, research, and practice literature in psychology from over 45 countries in more than 30 languages.
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||1887 to current||All|
| Web of Science
Contains citation indexes for Science, Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, and Book Citations from 2004 to present. Select "Web of Science Core Collection" to conduct cited reference search.
|Links to full-text via Get-It||1975 to current||All|
Cesar E. Chavez, noted farmworker labor leader, is commemorated at CSUSM by the statue and plaza located between the University Student Union and Science Hall II.
In 1997, after several years work, the statue was unveiled at a dedication ceremony with the Chavez Family, notables such as Dolores Huerta, and community and campus members in attendance.
The University Archives holds materials beginning with the birth of the idea for the statue in 1995. This includes documents and images from the media, California State University and CSUSM, the records from the Hispanic Advisory Council that spearheaded the initiative (1995-1997), and materials from various Cesar Chavez Day observances.
A finding aid to the archival material is here. Note the name is spelled both as Cesar Chavez and
Appointments to view the Cesar Chavez Statue and Plaza collection and related records in the University Archives can be made through this page.