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University of Missouri-Columbia

Research Methods

Part 1: Searching B&I Archives

Our research begins by searching in our own collection for relevant architectural records. Most of our holdings are stored in our Halon-protected archival vault, due to their age and historical value. The site's information architecture is modeled after the cataloging system used in the Building and Infrastructure Archives, and most of the architectural drawings and renderings on the site came from our own collection. The majority of the records used on this site were scanned specifically for this project, but some records had already been digitized and entered into our archival database, FindView.

Part 2: Searching University Archives

We follow up on our in-house research by augmenting it with materials from our project partenr, University Archives. Researching the University Archives' collection is performed via the web, using their holdings page. Here, we gather relevant information and compile a list of call numbers for their archivist. The archivist then collects our materials, in order that we can peruse them. We then visit the University Archives to determine which materials we can use. The University Archives' collection was absolutely essential to the making of this site, and we are very grateful for all their help.

Part 3: Searching other collections

While the bulk of our content comes from either our own holdings in the Building & Infrastructure Archives or the University Archives, there are several other repositories that have contributed material to our web exhibit. Our project partners at Western Historical Manuscript Collection have provided us with invaluable material on the early history of the campus. The Art & Archaeology Slide Library provided us with many excellent images of the campus, and the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office in Jefferson City provided us with some outstanding historical background information, as well as with excellent photographic images. Other sources, like the Columbia Daily Tribune library and the KBIA newsroom, contributed content and helped us research particular stories.

Part 4: Field research

The amalgamation of so many sources provided a great deal of excellent material and content for the site. However, due to a number of reasons, such as present construction on buildings and outdated photographic images, there was a need for current photographic documentation of many of the buildings contained in this web exhibit. Performing our own field research became essential for providing a current, accurate portrayal of the building history of the MU campus. Each month we devote a few hours to walking the campus, viewing, and photographing individual buildings. This provides a better perspective and a clearer context for us as researchers. Further, it also allows us to custom tailor our content to this project.

Institute of Museum and Library ServicesThis project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the state of Missouri.
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Last updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2006