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Engineering-LEAP | Dale Larsen: History: special collections & archives


Fred Toyota in front of the OK Café in Salt Lake City's Japan Town. ca. 1944.  Seiko and Sumi Oki Arakaki Photograph Collection. The University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections, Salt Lake City. P1170n20. J. Willard Marriott Library Digital Collections. Web. 20 Mar. 2013.

What has happened in Utah -and more importantly, why did it matter to locals and people far away?  Historically, Utah may seem like small potatoes, but the country was affected and participated in the stories your group is researching; even if only by reading stories in the papers and wondering.  

Athough next time we meet we'll be looking at our Special Collections with ultra-local stuff, for now we'll be scouring the databases and books for evidence of how major Utah events impacted life here.

Library Catalog: look for books (ebooks or otherwise is fine)
America: History and Life
Ethnic NewsWatch
Historical Newspapers

   Utah Digital Newspapers
   New York Times Historical

video of the week

Casey Stooooooonnnnnneeeeeeerrrrrr!!!  Ultra slo-mo

What the WHAT? Definitions

What could you find in Special Collections? Special Collections contain unique, rare, or regional resources. They often contain collections of personal papers, unpublished materials like correspondence and diaries, photographs, home movies, oral histories, and other material that is regionally relevant. Special Collections resources do not leave the library; they are frequently very valuable and could never be replaced if they go missing. 

Special Collections in Marriott Library is located on Level 4.

A Digital Library is defined as a collection of materials in electronic form. That's a pretty simple definition, but really we're not just referring to e-books. The term Digital Library, in practice, is used to refer to Special Collections-type material that has been digitized and made available online. Sometimes this does include books, but most often it is photographs, oral histories, and personal papers. 

Marriott Library's Digital Library  Also try out the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

A Finding Aid is a guide to the contents of a collection. It's sort of like of like the record for a book you would find in the library's catalog, but more in-depth. Sometimes it has links to the material it talks about (if the material has been digitized) but most often it does NOT. Take a look at this for an example: Norma W. Matheson papers

Finding Oral Histories

There are a few ways to search for oral histories. We have not yet put all of our oral histories online.  

1. We have a complete list of our oral history collections and links to their finding aids. Once you find an oral history you want to look at, come in to Special Collections and ask the person at the desk for it. 

2. The oral histories that we have available online are in the Digital Library. Scroll down and look for the following collection titles:

Univ of Utah - Everett Cooley Oral History Projects (hundreds of oral histories on a variety of topics from University of Utah history to the Occupy Salt Lake Movement to Iraq and Afghanistan War Vets).

Univ of Utah - Golden Spike Oral History Papers (interviews about the transcontinental railroad).

Univ of Utah - Interviews with Japanese Americans in Utah

Univ of Utah - Interviews with Jews in Utah

Univ of Utah - Topaz Oral Histories

Univ of Utah - Spanish Speaking Peoples in Utah

More Oral History Resources

Museum of the Chinese in America catalog (hint: search for "oral history")

Asian-American Experience: Oral Histories (From Rutgers University)

South Asian Oral History Project

American Memory Project from the Library of Congress (digitized primary sources including some oral histories)


Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library