ArchivesSpace is a Web-based application that allows for the managing of archives information. This application also facilitates patron research in that it allows researchers to browse and search a repository's holdings and view finding aids for processed collections.
This link will take you to the ArchivesSpace landing page. From this page, you may perform a keyword search related to your research interests. You can limit your search term by record type (e.g., limit it to search collections only or digital materials only); by keyword, title, creator, or notes; and by a date range. You can also complete a compound search by clicking the plus sign.
Let's say that your research interests relate to women's education. To perform that search, you could perform a compound search: "women AND education." You could also set the limiters to search only collections as well as keywords since you may not have a specific collection title or associated name in mind.
From this search, thirteen collections that relate to the search term were recovered. If needed, you can further refine these results by using the additional filters at the right of the screen. You can search within these results and limit the results to a specific area of the Archives & Special Collections (e.g., Congressional and Political Research Center, Manuscripts, etc.); by subject terms (i.e, terms that describes what the collection is about); or by specific names of persons, families, and organizations associated with the collection.
From the ArchivesSpace landing page, you will see a menu located just under the Mississippi State University Libraries logo. These are the four ways in which you may browse collections: by repositories; by collections; by subjects; and by names. Also note that you may return to the search screen at any time by clicking the magnifying glass at the right of this menu.
Clicking the "Repositories" link allows you to browse the collection available from the nine specific repositories or areas associated with Mississippi State University Libraries' Archives & Special Collections: Congressional and Political Research Center; Genealogy and Local History; Manuscripts; Mississippi State University Libraries; Mississippiana; Rare Books; The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana; Ulysses S. Grant Collection; and University Archives.
Clicking the "Collections" link allows you to browse all of the collections held across the Archives & Special Collections. This feature lists all collections in alphabetical order, with collection names that begin with a numeral leading the list. While browsing by collections, you can search within results using the search box at the right. This list can also be limited by additional filters such as the repository, subject, language, and associated names of persons, families, and organizations.
Subject browsing is also possible by clicking the "Subjects" link in the menu at the top of the screen. Here, all subjects represented in the database will appear alphabetically with numerals appearing first. While browsing by subject, you can search within results. This browsing feature may also be limited by additional filters.
You may also browse the Archives & Special Collections by specific names of persons, families, and organizations. When you click the "Names" link located at the top menu, all names represented in the database will appear alphabetically with numerals appearing first. While browsing by names, you can search within results. This browsing feature may also be limited by additional filters.
Once you find a collection that fits your research interests, you can access its finding aid (a document that tells a researchers about a collection and its contents) by clicking on the collection title.
From the "Collection Overview" page, you may view all descriptive information associated with the collection. Types of information you are likely to see include: content description; dates; creator; conditions governing access and use; biographical note; system of arrangement; subject terms; and other key pieces of information describing a collection's aboutness.
Equally as important, you may also find key information about how a collection has been arranged under the "Collection Organization" link. This information will help you better understand the organization of a collection, as well as what types of materials is included in any series or subseries.
Finally, you are also able to access the collection's inventory by clicking on "Container Inventory." This will take you to a list of the collection's containers. For instance, by clicking on "Box 1," you can view every folder title housed within that particular container.
When an individual folder is accessed, you may see more specific information about that folder's contents such as what series it is a part of (if any), its contents, and dates.
All finding aids can be downloaded and/or printed by accessing the "Print" button at the top right corner of the Collection Overview, Collection Organization, and Container Inventory pages. You will then be prompted to either open the document in your Web browser or to open the document in a PDF viewer.
You may request to view a collection by clicking the "Request" button at the top right corner of the Collection Overview, Collection Organization, and Container Inventory pages. You will then be prompted to enter your name, email address, and your anticipated arrival date, and a note to the staff. It is extremely helpful if in the note you provide precisely what collection and portion(s) of the collection you would like to see during your visit (e.g., collection title and series or box numbers).