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HIST 440: Senior Inquiry- Special Collections guide

This guide contains Special Collections guidance for History Senior Inquiry students enrolled in HIST 440 with Dr. Leech.


This guide contains information and links to resources introduced during your visits to Special Collections for HIST 440.  The focus is on tools you can use to locate archival collections and digitized content held by repositories (i.e. libraries, archives, and museums) beyond Augustana.  Please use the menu on the left to access the parts of this guide.

If you are planning to use materials that are held here in our own Special Collections as part of your SI project, you are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to discuss your research plan with the Special Collections Librarian (contact info in the box to the left).  There are two LibGuides to help you get started with research in our collections, one on Researching Augustana College History and one on Researching Local History.

All History SI students are also encouraged to consult with Stefanie Bluemle, the Research and Instruction Librarian with liaison responsibilities for the History department.  Stefanie can help you navigate the library's many resources above and beyond the tools introduced in the Special Collections context.

Finding Archival Material

During your visit to Special Collections for HIST 440, we discussed four tools you can use to locate archival material: ArchiveGrid, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), LibGuides Community, and Google.  If you are just starting out, these tools might help you find some inspiration for a project.  If you already have a topic and have already identified your main source material, these tools can help you locate additional historical evidence to lead you in new directions or develop a more nuanced argument.

As with all types of searching: remember that you will need to try and try again with a variety of keywords and phrases, with and without quotation marks, with and without Boolean operators, with broader and narrower search terms, and you will inevitably encounter some dead ends.  This is all part of the research process and is perfectly normal.  However, if you find you are struggling to use any of these tools effectively, or you want some reassurance that your search methods are sound, you can always ask your friendly librarians and your professors in the History department for guidance.