Skip to Main Content

Research Using Special Collections and Archives

This guide provides resources for students, researchers, and instructors who are new to archival research or new to using Special Collections and Archives at the University of Baltimore.

IDIS 101: First Year Seminar

IDIS 101: First-Year Seminar 

Now that you're familiar with primary sources and how to access them, use this section of the guide to get started with your primary source research at the UB Special Collections & Archives for your class project.

Students working on a class project in the UB Special Collections & Archives

Class Description Learning Outcomes and Special Collections & Archives Collections Assignment

Students will develop key skills, knowledge, and habits of mind necessary for academic success.

First-year students and their instructors explore the nature and practice of intellectual inquiry in a university environment.

Explore 'Thinking and Analysis' through library and archival resources.

Apply research skills in order to discover or identify diverse identities and histories in Special Collections and Archives.

Utilize primary source literacy skills including: analysis and evaluation, ethical considerations, critical thinking, and practical skills such as learning the process for finding and accessing records.

Explore our Oral History Collections to find individuals who discuss their experiences with various social justice issues in Baltimore during their interviews.


1. Construct a public service announcement (PSA) about a social justice issue in Baltimore City.

2. Research a different identity than your own and present on your findings and what you learned to your class.

•    Sample issues:
Education, Healthcare, Housing, Segregation, Police brutality, incarceration

•    Sample identities: Disability, Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Nationality


Linking Neighborhood Archives and BNIA Vital Signs Open Data

Linking Neighborhood Archives and BNIA Vital Signs Open Data

The Civic Switchboard Field Project is sponsored by Civic Switchboard, which is an Institute of Museum and Library Services supported effort that aims to develop and advance the capacity of academic and public libraries in civic data ecosystems. The RLB Library and BNIA project title is “Exploring the Baltimore Regional Study Archives and the Baltimore Vital Signs Open Data to Improve Quality of Life in Baltimore Neighborhoods.”

The Baltimore Regional Study Archives (BRSA) of Special Collections and Archives at RLB Library offer many pathways for potential users to work with open data prepared by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) for neighborhoods and track quality of life measures impacting their community. This section of the guide provides an example of how these resources can be used in a university course.

Description Learning Outcomes and Special Collections & Archives Collection Activities

The purpose of the collaboration between the
RLB Library and BNIA was to create a learning environment enhanced by pedagogical supports to enhance residents’ ability to access archival materials as well as open data and empower them to effectively “tell their story” about their neighborhoods. 

This tool trains librarians, faculty and community members on BNIA and BRSA resources and how to incorporate the materials into course lessons and research. 

Students learn how to use the Model Urban Neighborhood Demonstration Records (MUND) archival collection in their research about a specific Baltimore neighborhood.

Students develop key primary source literacy and research skills.

 Model Urban Neighborhood Demonstration Records (MUND)

Students conduct research using the Model Urban Neighborhood Demonstration Records in order to learn about the neighborhood history and identify a topic of interest for additional research.

Students utilize the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) website and the Vital Signs data in order to research their topic of interest.