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Research Help

Reference Services

The collections and resources of the Digital Collections and Archives are open to the public subject to our access policy. Before visiting the archives, we suggest that you write or call in advance to ensure the availability of records relevant to your research.

You may send a reference inquiry by contacting the DCA, by sending an e-mail, or by calling the reference archivist at 617.627.3737.

If you are beginning a large research project, thesis or dissertation, you might find it helpful to schedule a appointment with the reference archivist to discuss your research needs and interests and to determine what collections might be useful in your work.

On-site Reference Service

The Reading Room is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except University Holidays.

While no appointment is necessary, calling ahead will allow DCA staff to retrieve materials in advance and have them ready in the Reading Room when you arrive. Staff will not be able to retrieve records after 3:45pm. Retrieval for records stored off-site will take 24 hours.

Off-site Reference Service

For patrons unable to visit the Reading Room, the reference staff can spend no more than 20 minutes of research in the collections. This research is limited to specific look-up and retrieval. Staff cannot perform general research and patrons who submit requests requiring more than 20 minutes of staff time will be asked to do the additonal research person in person or hire an independent research assitant.

On request, the DCA will supply a list of independent researchers who are familiar with the collections and will do research on a contract basis. These researchers are not connected with the DCA: any arrangements must be made between the patron and the researcher.