Special Collections
UCLA Library Special Collections

Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT)

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 students by training them in archival methods, while simultaneously making special collections materials more widely discoverable. 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 archival projects 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.



The Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT) seeks applications from graduate students for positions that will allow students to gain first-hand experience in working with archival resources. CFPRT scholars must be able to work 12-19 hours Monday-Friday between the hours of 9-5pm and are paid $19.54 per hour.  

Application deadline: September 21, 2014


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.