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Manuscript and Archival Collections

Introduction to manuscript and archival resources available in Special Collections and University Archives, J. Murrey Atkins Library

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I cite manuscript & archival collections? 
    • [identification of item], [collection title], [call number], Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte


Common Terminology

  • archives: 1. Records that are preserved for the long-term because they have value for historical research and/or evidence of, and accountability for, past activities. 2. The place these records are kept and made available for research. 
  • finding aid: A tool that allows users to identify collections that can be used for a particular research project and facilitates discovery of information within a collection of records. Note: is where you can search the finding aids for manuscript collections held at Atkins Library.
  • manuscripts: Original records and unpublished writings that have been created or received by individuals, families or organizations in the conduct of their affairs and are collected by a library, preserved for the long term, and made available for historical research. Note: At Atkins Library, manuscripts refer to those materials that we collect from outside the university and help us to support historical research about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.
  • oral history: 1. An interview that records an individual's personal recollections of the past and historical events; 2. The audio or video recordings, transcripts, and other materials that capture and are associated with such an interview.
  • rare book: A publication that would be difficult or impossible to replace if it were to be lost or damaged and that provides an important perspective on the past, whether in terms of the history of books/printing/readership or historical topics reflected in the content.
  • reading room: The place where researchers can access and use rare books, manuscripts, and archives under conditions that are designed to protect the materials from theft and damage. Note: In Atkins Library, the Dalton Reading Room is located on the 10th floor.
  • records: In the context of archives and manuscripts, refers to documentation that provides evidence of past activities, transactions, and events. Note: Examples are: letters, photographs, pamphlets, reports, meeting minutes, posters, maps, audiovisual recordings, diaries, ledgers, and memoranda.
  • special collections: Manuscript collections, university archives, and rare books.
  • university archives: The University Archives in Atkins Library are the records that are created in units throughout the UNC Charlotte campus and document the activities of the university itself.