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Archival Reference and Access

Authored by: Mary Jo Pugh

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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This entry introduces reference services in archival and manuscript repositories and concepts of access to archival holdings. Archival holdings and reference services differ significantly from those typically provided in library settings. This entry is distilled from my book, Providing Reference Services for Archives and Manuscripts. Archives are tools; like all tools, they are kept to be used. Archives allow people to communicate information and evidence through time. Reference services in archival and manuscript repositories assist users, and potential users, in using archival holdings and locating information they need. This entry discusses the nature of archival holdings, institutional settings, and the range of uses and users of archival records. It explores information seeking and its relationship to archival reference services. The essay discusses the intellectual, interpersonal, and administrative elements of providing reference services in archives and manuscript repositories. It concludes with a brief consideration of outreach, management, and evaluation.

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