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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

LAH/HMN350: Giving Voice to Hidden Histories / Lang

Collections best practices

Librarians and archivists are here to help.

The collections on our campus are for you to access. In researching these collections you are creating new knowledge that can be built upon by other researchers. In many cases, you are researching collections that have little scholarship done on them. By creating a public-facing exhibit, you are giving these collections a voice on campus and all over the world.

Before you visit a collection, make a plan.

  1. Avoid approaching the archivist or librarian under a tight deadline. These professionals need time to help you identify relevant materials, and you will need time to explore the materials. 
  2. Use the links provided on the collections list to identify boxes you want to work in.
  3. Choose only as many boxes as you can feasibly work with in the amount of time you have to spend in the collection. 
  4. Be mindful of the hours the collections are open and available for you to do research.

When you're in the collection, keep the following in mind:

  1. Librarians and archivists are there to help. They can answer questions about the collection and help you in your research, or get you in contact with experts in the topic you're studying.
  2. Each collection may have different rules for its use regarding handling and photographing.

As you're planning your project, keep the following in mind:

  1. Some collections allow you to handle duplication through photography, photocopy or scanning on your own, and others would like that work to be done by a collections expert. Please plan ahead for either scenario and figure processing times for images into your project plan.
  2. Take a lot of notes. Even details or documents that seemed insignificant during one visit, may become significant to you later on as you do research. Never overestimate how much time you have with materials - make every encounter meaningful through keeping a research journal and taking time to reflect on the collection.

Contacts and hours

Contact your course librarian, Elise Nacca via email

Contact the Briscoe:

Process for requesting materials

Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturdays 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (closed Saturdays March 3 and March 31).  Students will need to register as a researcher during their first visit, then sign in and lock up their belongings.  Staff can assist you onsite when you visit or you can contact the reference staff at  You can find more information on the Briscoe Center’s “Plan Your Visit” page ( and on the “Research” landing page (

Contact the Benson:

Process for requesting materials

Normal hours of operation for the Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. We are open for drop-in visits with no appointment necessary.

Contact the Fine Arts Library:

Your contact for the Zine collection is librarian, Becca Pad.

Most of the Zine Collection circulates and is available in the stacks.

The FAL is open most nights until 10pm

Contact the Harry Ransom Center: 

Prior to doing research at the HRC, students must create a research profile. Set aside time at your first visit to do this if you have not already. 

Normal hours for conducting research in the HRC are Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. No material is pulled within thirty minutes of closing time. All materials must be returned to the circulation desk fifteen minutes before closing.

Our class is working with Instructional Services Coordinator, Andi Gustavson. Feel free to contact her if you have questions about working in the HRC collections. 

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