Archives and archival collections are unique groups of unpublished records created in the course of normal, day-to-day activities. Archives are comprised of primary sources, but not all primary sources are archival. At Boston College, the University Archives serves as the repository for:
The University Archives are retained in the John J. Burns Special Collections Library. These materials are non-circulating; that is, they cannot be borrowed but can be used in the Reading Room. To learn more about using Burns Library, consult our website or contact us.
Archival research is the practice of performing research to seek out and extract information from archival records.
In general, archives are organized into collections typically arranged based upon who created them. Material in the University Archives is arranged in a series of record groups that reflect BC’s administrative reporting structure.
Institutional records are available for research at the discretion of the originating office. This decision is not made by the Library. Records available for research use are open records; records restricted from research use are closed records.
In most cases, faculty and alumni papers are open for research, as are publications, photographs, and athletics programs and media guides. In limited cases, some administrative office records such as the Boston College President’s Office records prior to 1969 may also be open.
In general, however, most Boston College office records are closed. Researchers can obtain permission from the originating office to use records within narrow parameters. Contact the archives staff to find out if there is material relevant to your research within closed records in the University Archives. We will help you contact the offices and seek permission for access.
Please note that some records--such as records related to individual personnel or students--may be closed to access to protect individual privacy, even if permission is granted by the originating office. For more information, please review: