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Wartburg Archives Procedure Manual: Reference &

Procedure manual for staff, student workers, interns and volunteers of Wartburg College Archives and Archives of Iowa Broadcasting.

Reference and Access

The work Archivists, staff and volunteers do to acquire, preserve and process archival materials is focused on the primary goal of providing access to collections. Staff must assist researchers in interpreting the finding aid and other descriptive materials, as well as educate as to proper handling procedures to ensure the protection of fragile records.

Off-Site Researcher Procedure

  1. A request that is received by telephone or e-mail will be prioritized by order of receipt.
  2. Exceptions: priority will be given to internal requests by other Wartburg Departments and requests from Television/Radio stations who have donated their materials to AIB.
  3. Research can be done on behalf of patrons. Consult the Archive Fee Table for current rates. The first hour of research is complimentary to all patrons.
  4. For copies, digital scans or duplication of audiovisual materials, see the Archive Fee Table for current rates.
  5. Audiovisual materials needing to be digitized are outsourced to a vendor.
    1. The Archivist will obtain a quote for the project from an appropriate vendoR
    2. Once the patron approves the cost, package item(s) securely and send out via Mail Room (UPS)
  6. After the request has been completed, enter request information and statistics in Patron Request Log and the LibApps system.

Reference Room Procedure

  1. Drop-in patrons and those with appointments are welcome in the Reference Room.
  2. Each researcher should read the Reference Room Guidelines (also posted by research tables) and sign the Registration Form on the reverse.
  3. A staff member should complete a full reference interview before pulling materials for the patron.
  4. The patron may look at finding aids or other descriptive documentation to determine what materials they wish to examine. A maximum of one box of research material is allowed on tables at any time.
  5. The Archivist or other staff member will pull materials for the researcher and bring them to the table. Any special instructions for handling (such as wearing of provided gloves for examining photographs) are to be clearly communicated with the patron before they gain access.
  6. A staff member must remain in the room or within viewing distance of each patron who has original research material at their table, for security purposes.
  7. Patrons may take photographs of materials with their own camera or cell phone. If they desire photocopies or digital scans of any materials, duplication will be performed by a staff member. Consult the Archives Fee Table for any associated fees for this service.
  8. Viewing of audiovisual formats will be allowed on a case by case basis. The item must be in good condition, and the Archives must own working playback equipment.
  9. In cases where viewing equipment is not available, or the material is too fragile to be examined, arrangements will need to be made for digital transfer to occur before access to the material can be granted. Fees may apply.
  10. After the request has been completed, enter statistics and request information in Patron Request Log and the LibApps system.

Reference Interview

it is important to communicate and listen to each patron in order to fully understand their request and how you can help.

For each request (by phone/e-mail, or in person – especially if the Archivist is not present – a Reference Request form should be completed by the staff member)

Parts of a Reference Interview

Identify – for tracking and security purposes staff should gather information about the patron to identify them: including their name, address, telephone number/e-mail, and the purpose of their request. This information will be captured when the researcher completes the Registration Form.

Interview the patron – listen attentively and ask clarifying questions. It will be easier to fulfill the request the more information you gather from the patron. What types of records are they looking for? Do they know the creator? Do they know the date an event occurred or the individuals involved? Questions like these will help narrow the focus of a search.

Provide updates/Follow up – if the request is from an off-site researcher, be sure to provide them periodic updates on the status of their request. You may also need to contact them with additional clarifying questions. If the patron is in-house, follow up with them as they examine the materials to determine if they are finding what they need.

Reference Room Guidelines

Wartburg College Archives

Archives of Iowa Broadcasting

Archival materials are, by their nature, rare, often irreplaceable, and sometimes fragile. The following precautions have been instituted to ensure these objects are protected:

To Safeguard Collections, please do not:

  • Bring food or drink into the Archives
  • Use pens or ink
  • Remove and records from the Reference Room

Reading Room Etiquette:

  • Store all backpacks, computer cases, handbags, coats and other personal belongings (ask staff where)
  • Be considerate of others using space and refrain from loud or unnecessary conversation
  • Do not enter “Staff Only” areas

Careful Handling of Records:

  • Please ensure your hands are clean and free from lotions (gloves may be required to handle some original materials)
  • Do not lean on, or trace from, and records, or use them as a support for writing
  • If you need to flag a page, paper will be provided to use as a bookmark
  • Please maintain the existing order of items in folders and document boxes. Documents must not be marked, rearranged, or removed from their covers
  • Inform staff if you wish to request copies of items. You may use your own camera, or staff can photocopy or digitize items for you (fees may apply)

NOTE: Access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with the donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-print materials.

Archives Fee Table

Checking Materials Out of the Archives

Archival collections are non-circulating. However, some conditions exist in which a patron would be allowed to temporarily remove an item or items.

Specifically, a Television or Radio station whose collection resides at AIB, if needed for a rush job, may be loaned items from their own collection.

A Loan agreement must be completed and signed by the station representative and the Archivist or Library Director. The standard loan period is 14 days, but can be adjusted on a case by case basis.

Materials returned from On Loan should be verified for any damage and that the inventory matches what was loaned out.


The Archives will maintain statistics on researcher requests. Enter researcher information in the Patron Request Log, and file their Researcher Registration Form. Once requests have been completed by the assigned staff member, the request should be entered into LibApps.

Vogel Library, Wartburg College   |   100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA, 50677 |   Phone: 319-352-8500   | Email: