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Archival Research: SDSU Archives and Special Collections

Listings of digital archives.

The South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections

The South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections contain the University Archives, as well as material related to South Dakota history and life, which include manuscripts and archival materials, books, serials, audiovisual materials, artifacts, and photographs. Collections are available on the upper level of the Hilton M. Briggs Library on the campus of South Dakota State University.

The Senator Thomas A. Daschle Congressional Research Study is also located within the Archives and Special Collections. This study allows for public access to the papers donated by the Senator, a 1969 SDSU graduate in political science. The collection documents his distinguished twenty-six year public career in the U.S. House and Senate from 1979-2004. 

Access to SDSU Archival Materials


Doing Research in the SDSU Archives

Planning your visit:

  • Prior to your visit, we ask that you fill out our researcher registration form, call us at 605-688-5094, or email us at to let us know in advance. Staff members will be happy to talk to you about your research needs and procedural questions.
  • Consult with the staff about your topic and which collections you would like to see. Often, the staff will know of additional resources for your research. In addition, some of the collections in the archives are housed in offsite storage and advanced knowledge of your visit will give the staff time to retrieve these items.
  • Please note that retrieval of materials not stored in readily accessible areas may take 1 to 2 working days. Appointments are recommended to ensure that staff will have all relevant materials available. Due to limited staffing, we are unable to identify, locate, and retrieve all requested materials on a walk-in basis. 

When you first arrive in the Archives:

  • If you have not already done so, fill out the researcher registration form
  • Let the archives staff know that you have arrived
  • You will be asked for a photo ID (preferably a Driver's License or a student photo ID) and the staff will make a copy of it.\
  • You will be asked to place your bags, coats, and other items into the coat cubby
  • You will be shown to a seat in the reading room
  • You will be The archives staff will bring you the research materials you requested
  • If at any time you have questions, please talk to a staff member. We are here to help you!

General rules to follow:

  • All materials in the archives must be used in the reading room. At no time are researchers permitted to remove items from the reading room.
  • Please leave all personal items in the small closet area; this includes bags, coats, umbrellas, briefcases, etc. It is permissible to bring a laptop, notebook, or other research materials to your seat at the table.
  • No food or beverages are allowed in the reading room. Smoking, eating, drinking, and tobacco and gum chewing and not permitted.
  • Please use only pencils for taking notes. Pens and highlighters, as well as post-it notes, should not be used in the research room. Pencils and paper will be provided by the Archives and are the only items allowed on the table while viewing materials from the collection. All notes are subject to inspection and approval prior to removal from the research room.

 Handling archival materials and rare books:

  • The materials in the room must be handled with respect and care. Materials must be used with supervision in the reading room
  • Please make sure that your hands are clean
  • One box of archival material is allowed per patron at a time
  • One folder can be removed from the box at a time
  • Items in folders should be examined one at a time
  • Please keep the materials flat on the table
  • Make sure to keep the materials from the folder in their original order. If materials appear to be out of order, please notify staff instead of attempting to rearrange them
  • Do not lean on books or documents
  • Never write or trace on books or documents
  • Be careful when opening books and turning pages. Always lift the top corner of the page
  • Do not use paper clips, rubber bands, post-it notes, or any three-dimensional object for place-markers. Paper bookmarkers are available at the reference desk
  • Do not remove items, such as photographs, from their clear polyester sleeves.
  • If the item you are using seems too fragile to handle, please ask staff to assist you.

When you are finished:

  • When you are done with the materials please let the staff know and we will re-shelve the items
  • If you are returning let the staff know so that we can hold onto the items
  • If you do not plan to return let the staff know

Copyright and Restrictions:

  • The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies and other reproductions of copyrighted material.
  • Users assume full responsibility for conforming with copyright laws and conventions, libel laws and individuals' rights to privacy, and for the literary property rights that may be involved with the use of any materials.  
  • The Archives may not hold the copyright to some of its collections.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any required copyright permissions from the copyright holder.  
  • Permission to examine or to duplicate materials is not an authorization to publish. You must notify the Archives of any intent to publish or use archival materials beyond fair-use. If you intend to publish, please fill out and submit an "Intent to Publish, Quote or Exhibit" form. An archivist will notify you of any copyright information in our possession.
  • Some collections may have restrictions governing use. If you have questions regarding restrictions, please talk to the staff
  • The Archives reserves the right to revoke or deny access to any or all of its collections.

Citing Collections:

 Please use the following format to cite collections in the SDSU Archives: 

Collection Name, Collection Number, South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library.

For example:

N.E. Hansen Papers, UA 53.4, South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library.

 Please remember to talk to the staff anytime you have questions about the collections or about our policies.


SDSU Archives and Special Collections: Policies

In addition to following our regular Policies and Guidelines when you visit, we ask that you wash your hands prior to entering the archives and not use hand sanitizers that may cause damage to archival materials.

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