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A Guide to the Santa Clara University Archives: Searching

A brief guide to the SCU records and images available in Archives & Special Collections

University Records Schema

Inventories are available in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. Inventories more fully describe the box contents of each record group.

Please feel free to contact us for more help with University records. We are more than happy to help you navigate this complex schema to meet your research needs.

Search Tools

There are a variety of tools you can use to search for and identify collections and items held in the University Archives. Contact us to set up a research appointment once you identify a collection you would like to view in person, or if you need help identifying appropriate material for your research topic.

OSCAR, the Library Catalog

OSCAR is the library's catalog, and it lists all holdings in University Archives in addition to the holdings of the library in general. It is recommended to do an advanced search and limit the location to University Library Archives & Special Collections.

Screenshot showing limit by location interface in OSCAR advanced search

As for search terms, you can use a variety of approaches:

  • the name of a person (e.g. Locatelli)
  • a department (e.g. Office of the President)
  • a material type (e.g. photograph*)
  • the title of a book or other publication (e.g. The Redwood)

Alternately, after having consulted the University Archives Record Group Schema, you may want to do a call number search using the record group number, for example:

  • 3K for buildings
  • 5EM for records for the Student Resource Center/Center for Student Involvement, including student clubs and minority student programs
  • 5TF for records relating to football within the Athletics Department
  • 20DB for records from the College of Arts & Sciences Dean's Office

Online Archive of California (OAC)

Many archives throughout California publish finding aids for their collections on OAC, and Santa Clara University is among them. The finding aids provide collection, series, box, and folder level details. You can also use OAC to search for and view finding aids for other institutions, and if you find something you'd like to view, contact the institution to set up a research appointment.

ArchivesSpace Public Interface

ArchivesSpace is the backend system we use to describe our collections, and it has a publicly-searchable interface. It is a good place to search for personal papers of notable professors and alumni. Note that only some of the University Records are in ArchiveSpace. 

Digital Collections

We have over 40,000 digital items available for free online access in our Digital Collections. It's a great place to start your archival research. You can search by a keyword or name across the whole repository, or select a specific collection to browse or search. Once you click on the title of a specific collection, click the button Browse All at the top of the screen to replicate the experience of going through a box's contents item by item.

Other Local History Archives