How to Use the Special Materials Index

There are several ways to see what archival holdings we have at ASU Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. There is Arizona Archives Onilne (http://www.azarchivesonline.org/xtf/search); searching the libraries’ catalog; and searching the Special Materials Index.

You may ask: what is the Special Materials Index? Well, the Special Materials Index is an index of archival materials that have been cataloged into our stacks individually versus being part of a bigger collection. This was originally done because there wasn’t a collection where the item really fit, but was important to collection and preserve because it pertained to subjects which the archive collects i.e. Chicano history, Arizona history, etc. The index includes such items as photographs, manuscripts and ephemera.

Then often what happened, is the archive did then receive a large collection to which these items pertained, but they were never integrated into the collection. Such is case with all the collections we are processing as part of this grant; and why it’s important that if you are looking for materials related to LULAC, AHA, SER, M-COP, USWA and AFL-CIO you should know you find more items about them in the Special Materials Index.

So how does one find and use the Special Materials Index?

Step 1. First, go to http://lib.asu.edu/

Click on the “Research Database” tab:

Step 2. This will take you to the follow page below, where you want to click on the “S”.

Step 3. After you click on the “S” you should be taken to a page that looks like this. It’s a list of all the Research Databases we provide access to that start with this letter. You may need to go to page 2 in order to find “Special Materials Index.” Once you find it in the list, click on it.

Step 4. It will lead to this page, which gives you a small description of the index. To enter the index click on “Special Materials Index.”

Step 5. You will then finally be at the Special Materials Index page! (The direct link is http://spmi.lib.asu.edu/spmi?dbpiece=all BUT should you not have the link available the above steps are the instructions to get to this page.)

As you can see from the list, there are many different specialized indexes within this index. You can either search all indexes, or be more specific and just search the “Mexican American Index” (which you would use to find materials from the Chicano/a Research Collection), the “Arizona and Southwestern Index”, etc.

Step 6. Here is a sample search, where I searched for the term “LULAC”. If you notice the at the top, it’ll tell you how many results the search yielded. At the number 1 arrow, you’ll see each item has a call number (just like a book) and if you want to see this item, you would just need to come into the archive—the Luhrs’ Reading Room where we provide reference services for patron—and give the us the call number and we can retrieve the item for you immediately.

If you look at arrow 2, we also give you related subjects. So if you were looking for more items that have to do with “Annual Records”, you would just click on the word, which will send you to a new page with the results to a subject search.

Step 7. Sometimes results will even come with image previews and if you want to see it more closely, click on the image and it’ll open up to a new page in a larger size.

And that’s how you find and use the Special Materials Index!

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