Before you visit...
Know the Rules
Most special collections and archives have some special rules for using materials that are different from visiting a library. Generally, these rules help keep the one-of-a-kind materials safe and accessible by ensuring careful handling, by maintaining security, and by being responsive to the specific needs of a vareity of formats. Each archives or special collections has specific policies and procedures and its a good idea to check them out before you visit.
Place Your Order
The Russell Library and the Hargrett Library each have online guides (finding aids) for their archival collections. Hargrett and Russell also create catalog records in the UGA Libraries catalog (GiL) for published materials (books)in their respective collections.
You can browse and request materials that you want to come in and explore in special collections using any computer or laptop with an internet connection. You can make requests in advance of your arrival at the special collections building, or you can make requests when you arrive. There are archivists available in the research lobby located on the third floor next to the elevators to help you with requesting.
Russell Library is open Monday-Friday from 8-4:45 p.m.
Hargrett Library is open Monday-Friday from 8-4:45 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m.*
*closed on all UGA home football game Saturdays
What to Bring with You:
What to Leave at Home
While You Research
Give yourself enough time to make progress. It often takes a long time to go through all the materials that you hope are relevant to your topic. Plan to visit when you can spend at least an hour of concentrated work. Note that 4:30p.m. is the last call for making new requests for materials to be delivered to the reading room that same day.
Remember to gather citation information as you look through materials in the Russell Research Room. This will save time with citations later. Note the following items:
Historical research can be incredibly exciting and interesting, but getting started can be daunting--especially if you are starting from scratch in coming up with a topic.
In general, the most important thing to remember is that getting started early is essential. Give your self time to browse, connect, reimagine, and revise. Below are some links walk you through steps for developing a topic and writing an interesting paper. These aren't the only way to approach the work, but they give you a place to start. Remember to consult your professor for big questions or concerns and to re-read the assignment.
Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer
How to Frame a Researchable Question
Created by historian William Cronin and his graduate students to help undergraduates develop research topic in environmental history, but ideas and concepts are useful for any area of historical research.
Stages of A Historical Research Project
Independent project on the Web. offers a streamlined outline for research processes that may be a good quick reference tool
Keyword Search Tips and Tricks
Brainstorm terms related to your topic
Never Admit Defeat!
For general help with searching and browsing the collections located in special collections, you have several options:
Palaeography: reading old handwriting
1500 - 1800
A practical online tutorial
Palaeography is the study of old handwriting. This web tutorial will help you learn to read the handwriting found in documents written in English between 1500 and 1800.
At first glance, many documents written at this time look illegible to the modern reader. By reading the practical tips and working through the documents in the Tutorial in order of difficulty, you will find that it becomes much easier to read old handwriting. You can find more documents on which to practise your skills in the further practice section.