<Primary Source Home
<Module 2 Home
Module 2: How to Find Primary Sources in the UIUC Archives
At UIUC, the University Archives has a database of all of the records that are kept there. You can use this database to locate the records you are looking for. You'll find that the database reflects the organization of the records in the archives, as follows:
A Record Group is a body of organizationally related records, normally large in size and established on the basis of who created them. Record groups are defined by the major organizational units or functions of the university. Example: Record Group #41 is Student Affairs.
A Record Sub-Group is a subset of a record group. Example: Student Scrapbooks and Papers is Record Sub-Group #20 of Student Affairs.
A Record Series is a subset of a record group or sub-group. It is a set of records that are organizationally similar to each other in some way. Example: The Albert C. Spurlock Papers are Record Series 137, which is within the Record Sub-Group Student Scrapbooks and Papers, which is in the Record Group Student Affairs.
So the entire record series number for the Albert C. Spurlock Papers is 41/20/137.
Learn about the database
We've prepared a 3.5-minute video that shows how to access
and use the archives database.
When you view the video, you should see playback controls at
the bottom of the video that will allow you to pause, stop,
and move forward and backward. If you don't see these controls,
use your browser's scrollbar to scroll to the bottom of the
It may take a minute for the video to load. When the video
is over, close the browser window to return to the Primary Source
Please contact the archives if you need assistance using the database or have any questions about how to do research on your topic.
As this conceptual graphic illustrates, record groups are divided into sub-groups, which are in turn divided into series. Understanding how records are organized will make it easier to search for information in the Archives.