Using the Archives

  • More than 6,000 collections are described on the Online Archive of California (OAC).
  • Materials should be ordered in advance. To place requests from the Online Archives of California collection guides, use the search tool to find the collection you want to view. Then click on the "Request" button at the top of the collection guide. Select checkboxes (up to 10 boxes) you would like to view and submit for retrieval at the bottom of your screen. This action will prompt you to login to your Aeon account. If you need to add additional information to your request, do so before you schedule your retrieval or keep the item in your review list. Requested material will show as available for 48 hours.
  • Archival materials must be used in the reading room.
  • Cameras are permitted. Camera stands, tripods, scanners, and other equipment are not allowed.
  • Jackets with pockets, including suit jackets, are not allowed. Consider bringing a sweater, as the room is sometimes chilly, even in summer.
  • A self-service photocopy machine is available. Copies are $0.15 each. The machine accepts one- and five-dollar bills and coins. Materials that would be damaged by duplication may not be copied.
  • Laptop computers, cameras, cell phones, reference books, and pencils are generally allowed. Please note that laptops, cameras, and cell phones are not allowed when using certain collections, such as the Chiang Kai-shek Diaries. All other items, including pens, coats, hats, purses, research materials, notebooks, notepaper, food, and beverages, can be stored in lockers adjoining the reading room.
  • Researchers must exercise care to avoid damaging the materials. This includes making no marks and resting no books or other objects on the documents, preserving the existing order and arrangement of materials, and using only one box at a time. Specific materials may be subject to additional rules of use.
  • All items removed from the reading room must be inspected by an archives staff member.
  • To listen to sound recordings or view videos or films, please contact jsam [at] (Jim Sam) (sound recordings) orhoover_visuals [at] ( Vishnu Jani) (video and film) at least two working days before you visit. They will advise you of the accessibility of the materials you wish to use. Not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.
  • Off-site collections are listed here.