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Navigating NYU Archives

This guide will help you orient yourself with the tools, organization, and access policies of New York University Archives.

Welcome to NYU Archives

Purpose Statement

Welcome to NYU Archives! This guide is intended to help users understand how the University Archives collections are organized and explain the tools available for researchers as they navigate the collections. Users can find information about making appointments, accessing materials remotely, scheduling class sessions, donating materials to the archives, and much more. Our goal is to help researchers understand both the systems which exist to organize and manage our collections and the policies which promote the access and use of materials for present and future users.


Contact Information

General questions may be directed to, which is monitored by the entire Special Collections staff. For information about donations, permissions, scheduling classes, and special projects, please contact Danielle Nista (, Assistant University Archivist, or Janet Bunde (, University Archivist, for more information. 

Archives Are For Every Body Comic

1 of 8. Title panel reads “Archives are for Every Body: a comic on archives and primary sources for beginners, Episode One.” 2 of 8. A cartoon eggplant looks at a laptop displaying a Google search bar and wonders, "Hmm...How do I even get started?" A dotted line connects to a laptop with the NYU LIbraries special collections screen with insert "Submit request." 3 of 8. The eggplant sits at a table with a laptop in a room with a window and a cat snoozing on the floor.  Their email reads: "From:, To:, 'Hello!  I am working on researching labor relations.  What do you have on labor?"  In a split screen on the panel, a cartoon carrot, wearing a medical mask and glasses, sits at a table with a computer and a desk sign that says "Archivist."  The email on the Carrot's computer reads, "From: Special Collections, To: Researcher, 'Good morning, I can help you navigate our collections!  As an archivist, I work with and preserve historical materials." 4 of 8. The carrot continues talking, out of sight, “Researchers usually search across multiple collections that can be navigated through guides called finding aids. You can use these to determine which material you want to see during your visit. The finding aid shows the contents of each collection and where they are stored. Since our holdings are quite large, you will find some items are kept offsite.” The carrot’s computer screen shows a finding aid on the “Contents List” page with a list of folders in Box 1 of an archival collection. Some of the folder titles have check marks next to them to show that they are being requested. Below the computer screen is a truck labeled “To Offsite Storage” driving on a road, demonstrating how collections are transported to and from offsite storage and the library.5 of 8. The carrot continues explaining. “We archivists arrange and describe collections, that are organized into boxes, that hold folders, which contain material such as letters, negatives, ephemera, photographs, journals, newspapers, films, born digital content, and more!!” There is a flowchart of drawings of the increasingly specific levels of description. The description starts with a drawing of a building with archival boxes inside it to represent collections, then arrow pointing to archival boxes of different shapes, an arrow pointing to a folder, and then an arrow pointing to images of letters, negatives,  a poster to represent ephemera, photographs, journals, newspapers, films, and a computer screen to represent born digital content.6 of 8. The carrot stands on a stepstool facing a shelf of archival boxes.While we cannot see its face, it is wearing glasses and a face mask. They are looking for the box that the eggplant request it, and suddenly find it. The box they are looking for is highlighted in black and has a burst of light surrounding it like a halo. The carrot remarks, “After you request the material through your special collections research account, we will place it in a holding room until it is time for your visit! After you schedule your appointment, make sure to check your email to review some of our rules. For example, only pencils are allowed in the reading room. No pens!”7 of 8. The eggplant, wearing a facemask, has now arrived in the special collections reading room and is seated at a table. The box from the previous panel is next to them, and a folder of materials is on the table in front of them. Their pencil and spiral notebook are next to them too. There are additional empty seats and tables behind the eggplant and large windows letting lots of light into the room. The eggplant wonders, “What did I get myself into? There’s so much to explore!” The carrot archivist is here to help and is standing in front of the eggplant research. The carrot assures the eggplant, “I’ll leave you to it! It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at first. You can reach out to the reference desk if you have questions, need something scanned, or want to take photographs of the material.”8 of 8. A text box notes that 3 hours later, the eggplant is finished with their research for the day. The carrot waves goodbye to the eggplant. The eggplant responds “Thank you for your Help! Now…how do I make sense of all of this?” A thick black line ends the comic and separates it from additional instructions for the reader. The text reads “Stay tuned for Episode II. Credits: Gwyneth C. Malin, Juana Urrea (Illustrator). With the Support of librarians, archivists and instructors who are working at or who trained at NYU: Lindsay Anderberg, Janet Bunde, Zakiya Collier, and Shannon O’Neill.” There is a QR code that takes readers directly to the Special Collections homepage.