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History Day: Tips on Doing Research

The following tips are helpful to consider when conducting archival research at the Seattle Municipal Archives, or any other archival facility.

  • Always call or email to make an appointment.
  • It is helpful to have conducted your secondary source research before coming to the archives.
  • You should narrow your topic as much as possible before coming to the archives. Having a clear idea of your topic will make your research time at the archives more efficient.
  • Learn how to use the archives' online databases and guides.
  • Discuss your topic with the archivists! They are there to help you.
  • Materials in the archives are organized differently than in a library; they are arranged by department or office. It is helpful to think about which office would have created the records you are looking for.
  • The archives is located within the Office of the City Clerk, making it easier to research legislative history.
  • One cubic foot of records contains approximately 2,500 pieces of paper. The Archives contains millions of pieces of paper.


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