Usage Guidelines

It is different to use materials in an archives versus a public or academic library. Archives have access guidelines designed both to help preserve materials and protect them from theft, ensuring our collections will remain available for future researchers.

  1. Registry and personal identification. Archives staff will ask you to sign in and provide basic contact information upon arrival.
  2. Removal of coats and bags. For the protection of our historic materials, please leave your coat and non-essential bags inside the door, especially in inclement weather.
  3. No food or drink. You are not permitted to eat or drink in the Archives. There is a snack lounge in the basement of Steenbock Library for this purpose.
  4. Use of pencil only. We ask that you only use pencil when writing in the Archives. If you do not have a pencil, we will provide you with one.
  5. Archives gloves. You may be asked to wear archives gloves when handling materials. Staff will provide you with a clean pair for this purpose.
  6. Laptops, cell phones, cameras, recorders, and personal scanners. You are permitted to use these devices to facilitate your research process.
  7. Handling. Please handle materials carefully! While older materials are generally more fragile, even new materials need to be handled with care. Archives staff may provide specialized tools like book pillows to help preserve materials during use.
  8. Maintaining Order. We ask that you maintain materials in the order you received them so they can be located later and observed in their proper contexts. Misfiling or changes in order can lead the staff to assume that items are missing and cause inconvenience future researchers.

From “Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research” by Laura Schmidt.

UW-Madison Archives Reading Room Rules [pdf]

Contact the UW-Madison Archives for more information.