Research graphic

The reference interview is an exchange of information between the reference archivist and the researcher. Questions move from general to specific in a process that connects researchers with appropriate records.

The Reference Room

Assistance provided

Most visits begin with the reference interview, which is essentially an exchange of information to find out if the Archives has records useful to the researcher. The researcher submits the records use form to the reference archivist and will be asked a very general question such as "What sort of research are you hoping to do?" From there the questions and responses become increasingly more specific as the researcher learns more about the records and the archivist learns more about the proposed line of research. The reference archivist may refer the researcher to specific finding aids, indexes, microforms, or other resources in the Archives or other repositories that may provide further useful information. Now that more resources are available on the Web, the researcher may be referred to the Oregon State Archives Web site or to Web sites of other repositories.

With rare exceptions, the reference archivist is there to assist the researcher--not actually conduct the research. Therefore, researchers should not expect the archivist to assist in interpreting the content of the research (e.g., legislative intent, court decisions...) or to go through box after box of records looking for specific documents for the researcher. The archivist can be expected to help the researcher become familiar with using finding aids, indexes, microform reader/printers, photocopy machines, and other functional tools of the reference room.

Delta On to copying rules and costs

State Archives • 800 Summer St. NE • Salem, OR 97310

Phone: 503-373-0701 • Fax: 503-378-4118 • reference.archives@state.or.us