How To Use The Archive.


Archives can be intimidating and difficult to use. This explanation may help you making use of the Spirit of Revolt Archive.

Where is the Archive’s material?

The Archive exists mainly in physical form: all the material is at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library and forms part of Glasgow’s City Archive. An increasing number of records are also available via our website. All physical material – letters, pamphlets, magazines, banners and much more – can be accessed in City Archives’ Reading Room. The physical material can only be accessed there.

How do I get access to the material?

All access if free of cost. Photocopies of documents can be made by City Archive staff against a fee; students are allowed to take photographs of documents for free. If you want to take notes in the Reading Room you may only use pencils. The staff in the Reading Room are very helpful and happy to explain everything to you.

Where do I start?

If you want to access particular documents you first need to look at the Archive’s catalogue to decide which documents you want so that Archive staff can get the material for you to loot at in the Reading Room. The catalogue is a list of all our collections and of what each of these collections contains. Details about the Spirit of Revolt Archive’s collections can be found under our catalogue on the website. The website is currently the best place to start your research. You will find computers to access the website at the Mitchell Library, but of course you can access the online catalogue from any computer anywhere.

How do I find what I want?

On the website you find a list of over 25 distinct collections. They are usually named after the persons or organisations that donated the material to the Archive. We also have collections of journals and magazines within the Archive.

A mouse click on one of the collection takes you into what is called the “finding aid” of this collection. The finding aid is a list of all items within the collection and it contains a brief description of the collection’s history and an overview of what it consists of. It also indicates how big the collection is by stating its “extent”, measured in the space that it takes up on the Archive’s shelves. All items within the collection are usually listed under headings like “letters”, “photographs” or “ephemera” – this latter term is used for a mix of items which do not easily fall into a proper category. When you open the finding aid for a magazine you will find details about whether the collection contains the full run of the magazine or whether some issues are missing.

To find what you are interested in, go through the finding aids and use the descriptions to decide whether you want to have a look at the item in the Reading Room. Also use the search function to search the entire Archive for a particular keyword that describes what you are looking for. However, such a search only works if the keyword you have chosen exactly matches a keyword that we have chosen to describe an item. So, for a really thorough search you will still need to go through the collections that you think might hold documents that are of interest to you.

How can I get the material?

When you have found what you are looking for you need to write down the “reference code” of the item. You find the code at the top of the finding aid. For the Spirit of Revolt Archive it always starts with “T/SOR”. It continues with the number of the collection and the number of the item that you want. When you are in the Reading Room, fill in one of the request cards there and ask staff to bring out the material that is archived under the reference code.

Is any of the material available digitally?

Spirit of Revolt tries to make as much material available online as possible. Where you see, in the finding aid, individual items underlined you will find a digital copy of the item and you can access it online and read it on your computer screen. However, most material is not yet available in digital form. When you cannot come to the Reading Room but are interested in a document that is not available online, contact us to ask whether we can scan it for you and send it to you.