If you want to start exploring our collections before you visit or contact our archivists, you can search and browse collection guides on our website. A collection guide is like a table of contents to an archival collection. You may also see these referred to as finding aids. They include information like the creator, date range, and type of documents found in the collection.
Some guides also have a content listing with more specific information about the topics covered in the collection--but you will rarely see a collection guide that describes individual documents.
While this is often the most useful part of the collection guide, it's important to read the whole thing. It can provide valuable information about where the collection came from, how to access the collection, and its contents (especially for smaller collections that don't have a content listing).
Getting to know the collection guides is one of the best ways to find what you're looking for in the Norwich Archives! It's important to note, though, that the collection guides do not give you access to the actual documents within the collections. They describe them in general terms, and you will have to contact the Archives, or in some cases, visit the Digital Collections to read the documents themselves.
A growing number of our archival collections are available to search and browse on our website. These include University publications, photographs, 19th century student letters, and some of Alden Partridge's personal papers. The Digital Collections covers less than 1% of the unique materials held in the Norwich Archives, but it can be useful as a starting point for certain research projects, and it's also a lot of fun to browse if you're interested in historical documents or looking for inspiration.
Our website allows you to browse by format or by a variety of different subjects. The materials can also be searched, although it's important to note that un-transcribed manuscripts cannot be searched in full text--only the descriptive information that staff have entered will be searched.
The Newspapers, Magazines, and Publications section includes a subject index to old student and alumni newspapers (the Reveille, Guidon, and Record), which is still in progress but currently covers issues up through 1940. This is an extremely useful tool for starting to research a specific topic or individual from Norwich history.
Norwich's archivists are happy to work with you to facilitate research in the University Archives, even if you are far away. We can guide you through the use of our digital collections, or we can help you use the collection guides to identify collections and files from our physical collections that could help your research.
Once we've worked together to narrow down your search, we can provide reproduction services (photocopying or scanning) free of charge for requests of a reasonable size. If you think you might be interested in using the Norwich Archives for an upcoming project, please contact us ASAP so that we have ample time to make arrangements for you!