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EDEF 352 - History of Education in Hawaiʻi: Primary Resources

Primary Resources

Archives and Gov Docs - What's the Difference?

Defining the term "archives"

Often when people use the term "archives," in their mind, they envision "old stuff," or "special old stuff." In fact, archives are comprised of special old stuff, but for the purposes of your studies, it is important to understand that the word "archives" is a very specific term.

"Archives" refers to the working and operational files of an institution. For example, correspondence files, budget planning files, etc. would be the kinds of files that end up in an archive.

The term "archive" also refers to the repository which holds these files. So, archives are held in an archive. And, an archive might also hold other types of materials, such as manuscript collections, collections of personal papers, and regular library books too.

Defining the term "government documents"

Government documents are the publications of a government. They are prepared edited documents meant for public dissemination. For example, annual reports of government agencies are considered to be publications. Individual reports such as the U.S. Dept. of the Interior's 2000 report on Hawaiians, "From Mauka to Makai: The River of Justice Must Flow Freely" would also be considered to be publications.

Where do I look for archival records and government documents?

Hawaiʻi governments' archives Hawaiʻi State Archives
Holds the archives of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Republic of Hawaii, Territory of Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi
U.S. government archives National Archives and Records Administration
Hawaiʻi state documents Main repository is the Hawaiʻi Documents collection at the Hawaiʻi State Library. UHM Library's Hawaiian Collection also keeps some state documents, selectively. Many current Hawaiʻi state documents are available online.
U.S. government documents In Hawaiʻi, the UHM Library's Government Documents collections is a regional depository. Most current U.S. government documents are available online. Some older U.S. government documents are available online, see boxes in the right column of this page.

Archives and Manuscripts - What's the Difference?

Other types of collections that are often called "archives" are "manuscripts" and "personal papers."

Definition of "Manuscript"

According to the U.S. National Archives, a "manuscript" is a "handwritten or typed document, including a letterpress or carbon copy, or any document annotated in handwriting or typescript."

Definition of "Personal Papers"

According to the U.S. National Archives, a "personal papers" collection is "a natural accumulation of documents created or accumulated by an individual or family belonging to him or her and subject to his or her disposition."

More detailed definitions of "archival" terms can be found at the U.S. National Archives Introduction to Archival Terminology.

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