Helpful Guides: FAQs about Archives & Other Quick Answers

Have you been wondering what the difference is between archives and a library? How to preserve family history? Or whether the records of your organization might be archival -- and should be preserved? Several online guides can help you answer these questions.

Archives FAQ from the New England Archivists' website offers accurate and readable information about what makes archives different from libraries, as well as answers to many other common questions about archives.

One of the best publications helping community groups in deciding how to archive their own materials is Documenting Community Organizations, by the Rochester (NY) Regional Library Council's Documentary Heritage Program Committee. The library's website offers many online publications by the committee on topics such as:


  • How to care for photographs, videotapes, and family history materials


  • Creating a family scrapbook (digital, too!)


  • Oral history guidelines

And as always, the Minnesota Historical Society has many resources for local history preservation efforts, such as Family History Workshops.

IHRC staff frequently consult with individuals and groups interested in creating archives of their materials, and these opportunities for learning about archives will help you as you consider how to go forward with your own project!