Center for Primary Research and Training Research Opportunities
The UCLA Library created the Center for Primary Research and Training to integrate special collections materials more fully into the teaching and research mission of the university. The center provides a substantive educational experience for graduate students by training them in archival methods, while simultaneously making accessible lesser-known collections through the creation of finding aids, or guides. It was launched with a generous lead gift from the Ahmanson Foundation.
Recognizing that many faculty in the social sciences, humanities, and visual arts want to give their students experience with primary sources and that many graduate students are looking for original subjects for theses and dissertations, the center pairs students with unprocessed or under-processed collections in their areas of interest. Students have access to materials that others have not yet fully investigated, and their training in archival organization and description results in making those collections more accessible to other researchers. They are compensated at a rate competitive with similar on-campus employment options such as teaching and research assistantships.
Five Short Films about the Center
The UCLA Library has released five short films documenting the history of the center and highlighting four student projects:
- Treasures of the UCLA Library: Story of the Center for Primary Research and Training (part one of five)
- Treasures of the UCLA Library: Colonial Mexican Manuscripts (part two of five)
- Treasures of the UCLA Library: Cuneiform Tablets (part three of five)
- Treasures of the UCLA Library: African American Collections (part four of five)
- Treasures of the UCLA Library: Near Eastern Manuscripts (part five of five)
Written, directed, and produced by Erin Flannery, the films have been made possible with support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Irving and Jean Stone Endowment, and University Librarian Discretionary Fund.
What the Center Does
- enables students to conduct research using the immensely rich holdings of UCLA Library Special Collections, perhaps relieving them of the financial burden of conducting research elsewhere
- encourages broader and more innovative uses of original sources at UCLA
- encourages feedback from doctoral candidates and their faculty committees that will help the UCLA Library understand how scholarly resources can be developed for optimal use in the future
- promotes special collections as fundamental to UCLA's mission by emphasizing that scholarly research ultimately depends on the availability of primary sources
- enhances access to collections and backlogs, thus surfacing "hidden collections" and making holdings more visible online, following established standards for what constitutes adequate access
- utilizes the energy, ambition, and subject knowledge of students to fill gaps in expertise on the part of full-time staff, which is particularly important in an era of reduced staffing
- better informs UCLA administrators and faculty as well as members of the wider community about special collections holdings and the obligations and responsibilities an institution assumes when it undertakes stewardship of special collections materials
Summer Quarter 2013
The center is currently hiring graduate students to complete archival processing projects in UCLA Library Special Collections. Please indicate in your cover letter and application why you are interested in processing the collection listed on the Information Sheet. The application deadline for summer 2013 archival processing positions is May 31, 2013.
- Download Information Sheet about Positions (Adobe PDF document)
- Download Application (Word document)
- Summer Quarter: May 31, 2013