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The University of Texas at Austin

Research Visit

 

The Briscoe Center's newly renovated reading room serves as the hub of research for visitors using the Center's vast archival collection. Before you visit, please consult the information below concerning hours of operation, policies and resources. To reach the reading room, enter the north end of Sid Richardson Hall, Unit 2, and walk through the expanded galleries to the south end of the building. We look forward to assisting you!

Sid Richardson Hall
(L-R) Sid Richardson Hall, Unit 1, 2, and 3

Hours

The Briscoe Center public services are available to the public from 10AM to 5PM Monday through Friday, and 9AM to 1PM on Saturday. As always, we recommend that researchers check the hours page since our hours occasionally change due to special events or University holidays.

Policies & Registration

Like most archival institutions, the Briscoe Center maintains policies and procedures for use of the collections. Our mission is to preserve and provide access to our holdings for use by everyone. In order to carry out that mission, we require researchers to follow these policies:

Researchers visiting for the first time must register and show a form of official photo identification (drivers license, school i.d., passport, military i.d.). All researchers must sign in at arrival and sign out at departure.

Visitors are required to place their belongings in a locker. All lockers have locks to which you set your own combination. The following items must be stored in lockers:

  • Hats and coats
  • Purses, backpacks, laptop and camera cases
  • Food and drinks
  • Personal books, notebooks and folders

Once you have signed in and locked up your belongings, Briscoe Center staff will need to verify that you are taking only the following items into the reading room:

  • A personal camera for photographing items in the reading room (no personal scanning or photocopying equipment).
  • A laptop computer.
  • Notes on loose paper (no bound notebooks or spirals; we provide additional scratch paper). We will stamp these with our clearance mark before you are seated.

If you choose to carry a concealed handgun on campus, you must carry it on or about your person at all times.  The Briscoe Center's policy requires that researchers must lock up all personal belongings including purses, bags, backpacks and briefcases. For questions concerning concealed carry on campus, refer to the University Handbook of Operating Procedures, 8-1060 “Campus Concealed Carry," https://www.policies.utexas.edu/policies/campus-concealed-carry, and the UT Campus Carry website, https://campuscarry.utexas.edu/.

When you are finished with your research for the day and exit the reading room, staff will need to check your laptop and any loose papers before you retrieve your materials from your locker and sign out for the day.

Requests and Using Archives Material

The Briscoe Center is a closed-stack facility so researchers request and use all materials in the reading room. Staff is eager to assist you with finding materials appropriate to your research. Our reference kiosks feature searchable databases and indexes for most of the Briscoe Center’s holdings. If the materials you need are housed off-site, you can fill out a request form to have the materials delivered to the Briscoe Center.

To have materials retrieved and delivered to the reading room, you must complete and submit call slips to the staff at the reference desk for each item you wish to see.

To ensure the preservation and security of our holdings, there are limits to the amount of material researchers can request and use at one time. Consult reading room staff for specific desk limits.

Once you submit your call slips, you can take a seat. Reading room staff will deliver your first item to your desk.

When you are finished with that item, please return it to the reference desk to receive any other materials you requested previously or to place a new request.

Researchers can ask for an item to be held at the reference desk if they plan to return within the week.

Class Visits

Professors wishing to bring their class to the Briscoe Center for archival instruction or research orientation should contact the head of Public Services, Margaret Schlankey (m.schlankey@austin.utexas.edu, or 495-4537).

Tools and Equipment

Some of the Briscoe Center’s holdings require special equipment to access their content:

Microfilm reader/scanners: There are five reader/scanners for viewing reels from our extensive microfilm collection. Each machine can enlarge images and scan them to a USB drive provided by the researcher. There is also the option to print images with a 25 page limit.

Audio listening station: The Briscoe Center offers players for LPs and 45 rpm discs, compact discs and cassette tapes.

Video viewing station: We have players for DVD, VHS, and UMatic video formats.

Desktop scanner/printer: With the permission of the reference desk staff, researchers can scan books or vertical files in good condition and save the images to a USB drive that they provide. There is also the option to print the images with limit of 25 pages.

The Briscoe Center also offers the following tools to assist researchers:

  • Camera
  • Camera stand
  • Flexible clamps for use with a smart phone camera
  • Light table
  • Loupe
  • Gloves
  • Book cradles and weights
  • Flash drive

Prepare for your Visit by Exploring Our Website

To make the most of your time at the Briscoe Center, you can use the resources on our Online Reference Tools page to find materials you can request when you arrive for research or request ahead of your visit in the case of off-site materials. You can also contact our reference staff to receive help finding materials appropriate for your research.

 

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