Working with archival material requires us to acknowledge the past on a regular basis. Some archival materials may represent positions, cultural norms, and values that are no longer, or never were, acceptable. You might come across insensitive and socially unacceptable descriptions and depictions while looking at primary sources.
Similarly, there may be instances in which material has been described in an insensitive and socially unacceptable manner during acquisition or processing. Archival descriptions are not fixed documents and should be reviewed regularly and updated as needed. It is appropriate to bring problematic descriptions to the attention of the archivist or librarian if you feel comfortable doing so.
So you found some material related to your topic at a local archives---what next? Every archives is different, but here are some good guidelines to follow:
Special Collections & Archives is located on the second floor of Coates Library. We are open weekdays from 12pm-4pm, or by appointment. We recommend emailing us with information about your research topic before your visit, so that we can ensure the most efficient use of your time. Appointments or research inquiries can be sent to email@example.com.