October 4th is #AskAnArchivist Day!

#AskAnArchivistIt’s that time of year again – October 4th is #AskAnArchivist Day! This is the day when archivists across the country (and the globe) tell everyone more about what kind of work they do, and the types of interesting material you can find in archives. Below are some FAQ’s with information about the Bentley Archives. If you want to know more about any of these topics, find us on social media and ask your question using #AskAnArchivist. You can also email your question to archives@bentley.edu.  Want to see photos of campus or students in a certain time period? Curious to find out more about Bentley’s early days in Boston? Ask us to find out!

What is an archive? What’s in the Bentley Archives?

There are lots of ways to describe archives but essentially they are repositories for items of historical value that relate to a common topic. The Bentley Archives preserves the historic records of (you guessed it) Bentley University! We have historical papers and objects documenting all 100 years of life and learning at Bentley. These items are preserved and organized so that people can use them for research – although archives material cannot be checked out like library books. You can find out more on our Archives LibGuide.

Can I use the collections in the Bentley Archives?

Yes! If you have a specific idea or project in mind, or if you know what kind of historical items you’d like to see, please email archives@bentley.edu. If you’d like to get a better sense of the types of material you can access, a good place to start is our Archives Subject Guide. We are always happy to help identify photos, documents, or objects that might be helpful in your work. You’ll need an appointment to view material in the Archives, so try to send in requests early and we can work with you to get history into your hands!

Where can I look at material from the Bentley Archives online?

You can view all of our online exhibits on the archives website! If you’d like to see a collection of historic photographs from the Bentley Archives, you can view them online at Digital Commonwealth. If you need help searching through images, or if you have any other questions about our online material, please let us know.

Where else can I explore & interact with archival material online?

There are lots of great places to explore and contribute to archival research online. Many are linked in our Online Volunteering LibGuide, and a few highlihts are included below.

  • NYPL Labs is the homepage for digital projects from the New York Public Library. You can view and search through digitized material, or participate in research and information-gathering projects like “Building Inspector” – where you help to update and correct historic maps.
  • Online Exhibits from the U.S. National Archives can be a good place to start browsing through such a vast collection. You can also help transcribe and ID documents on their Citizen Archivist
  • The World Digital Library lets you search collections from over 190 different countries, and to browse featured items related to world history.
  • Beyond Words from the Library of Congress digital collections lets you explore historic newspapers while helping to identify and caption illustrations.
  • Lastly, the Knitting Reference Library from the University of Southampton. This quirky collection contains Victorian texts about knitting, historic knitting patterns, and more. This collection is hosted via the Internet Archive – where you can explore many other archival collections as well!

Can I donate material to the Bentley Archives?

Yes! Read our FAQs about donation. We’ll also be reaching out to faculty, staff, and students this year to identify and collect material for the Archives. If you have personal or family records (non-Bentley related) that you want to preserve, you may be interested in our page about Caring for Archival Material.

Don’t forget to send us your questions on Wednesday, October 4th, and of course you can always contact us year-round at archives@bentley.edu!