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EDF 5519: The History of Higher Education

This research guide supports the major research project assigned in EDF 5519.

Using Materials in SCA

Knowing Where to Search

Understanding the Differences Between OneSearch, DigiNole, and ArchivesSpace

ArchivesSpace is used for searching manuscript collections within Special Collections and Archives. Manuscripts are unpublished documents and materials ranging from handwritten letters to silverware. The Society of American Archivists defines a manuscript as "a handwritten document, an unpublished document, or an author’s draft of a book, article, or other work submitted for publication."

OneSearch is the University Libraries’ catalog record of published books. All published materials housed in Special Collections and Archives will be found in this catalog and not in ArchivesSpace.

DigiNole is a digital repository for the University Libraries where you can access digitized copies of books, journal articles, photographs, and much more. This can be a helpful tool for quickly flipping through materials, viewing materials remotely, or previewing materials before requesting to see them in the reading room.

How to Search


OneSearch is Florida State University Libraries’ discovery search tool for books, articles, media, and more. This tool searches our local FSU collections as well as our online resources.

The search fields shown below are the starting place for searching within OneSearch for archival materials housed in Special Collections and Archives at FSU. Beginning with the search term, you can either enter a relevant keyword or a singular letter and use the “contains” drop down menu to specify whether you are looking for your keyword or an item beginning with that letter. The “any field” drop down menu allows you to specify the type of information about your results that your keyword applies to. To add a second keyword to your search, simply enter it in the second line and be sure to select “and” if your results should include both terms, or “or” if your results may include either term but not necessarily both. Finally, you may narrow down your search even further by selecting the type of material, language, or entering a range for the date of publication.

On the results page there is a menu on the left-hand side with more options for narrowing down the results. In order to search within SCA, you must locate the “library” tab in the menu and select “FSU Special Collections And Archives” or find a specific collection under the “location” tab that begins with “Special Collections And Archives.”

OneSearch Library/Location SCA example


Once you have identified an item or collection from SCA, you can search it up in DigiNole and find out if it has been digitized. Books or materials that have been digitized usually have a link to the digital version in the catalog record or the finding aid. Refer to the example below that demonstrates what this might look like. If it has not already been digitized and you would like for the Digital Library Center to digitize it, you may submit a request form (linked below). Please keep in mind that some items may not be digitized due to copyright or donor restrictions. For items already on DigiNole, there will be a “held by” section in the description that says “Special Collections & Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida.” Items that have already been digitized may additionally contain a link to their digitiztion within the catalog or finding aid, see below for an example of what this might look like.

DigiNole link example in OneSearch


Please refer to the guide linked below, created by Hannah Davis and Kristin Hagaman, as an excellent resource for using ArchivesSpace.


"Reading" Primary Sources

When reading a primary source, consider the following to evaluate and interpret its content:

How reliable is the author's account?  Was the author an eye-witness to the events described? Was the document written immediately, or did some time intervene between the event and documentation?  Was the author in a position to fully understand her subject (e.g. European travel writers describing foreign customs)?

What was the author's purpose? Was the document intended to persuade or convince the reader?  Was the intent to deliver an impartial recounting of events? Was the document intended only for internal record keeping, as in a business or administrative office?

Who was the author's intended audience?  Was the document written for posterity, to present a specific view of the past (e.g. autobiography)? Was the document written for public consumption at the time it was written (e.g. newspapers)?  Was the document private, and never intended for the public (e.g. personal correspondence, diaries)?  How might the intended audiences influence the author's account?

What is the context of the document? Does the language used have the same meaning now that it did in the past? How or why was the document created? How does the document relate to other contemporary records, and to what we know about the time period and persons involved?

Can your corroborate the source with other evidence?  Do other primary sources support your interpretation of the document in question? Can you justify why the document in question may not conform to similar contemporary sources?

Using a Finding Aid

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