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Planning a Research Trip: On-Site Considerations

This guide offers tips on planning an out-of-town research trip.

About On-Site Considerations

This list of questions relate to use of the collections and facility once you arrive.  But some of these questions may still need to be addressed while you are planning your visit and the length of your stay.

After Your Visit

If you need to cite or publish portions of your findings later, be sure to resolve any questions of copyright during your visit.

  • Are there copyright restrictions on your reuse of the material? 
  • If you want to publish – in print or online – something you find in the archive, can copyright permission be obtained? 
  • Will you have to pay licensing fees?
  • Did you remember to collect enough information to provide a full citation for any sources you need to quote or refer to?

On-Site Considerations

  • Do you need to provide a letter of reference from your home institution?  
  • Do you need to bring photo ID? 
  • If you need to register as a researcher, can you register ahead of your visit to maximize your available research time?
  • Are children allowed in the research areas?  If not, are there nearby facilities for childcare?
  • Is adaptive technology available for people with physical disabilities?  If not, can you bring your own adaptive technology devices?
  • Are storage lockers available for personal items, such as purses or briefcases?  If so, are they free or do you have a pay for their use?
  • Is the material you need available on-site?  Or will it have to be ordered from an off-site facility?  If off-site, how far in advance do you need to request the material?
  • Are there any unprocessed collections relating to your topic?  Can these be made available during your visit?
  • Are there any restrictions – by the donor or by the use policy of the archive – on access to collections relating to your topic?  If so, can you apply for an exception to the restriction?
  • What is the archive’s reproduction policy?  Is photocopying permitted?  Are there limitations on photocopying?  
  • Are laptop computers allowed? 
  • Can you use a digital camera or other recording device in the archive?
  • Did you make a list of the sources you used during your visit?  Keep track of resources you use in case you need to cite them.  It may be impossible for archivists to locate a specific letter or quotation later.

Public Services Archivist

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Teresa Gray
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Special Collections & University Archives