So, what do you think the archives are like? The picture above gives an idea of how the materials are stored. If you take this row of materials and multiply it many times you start to understand the amount of material in the archives. When you request material someone will retrieve it for you as the vaults are restricted to archives staff. There are a number of vaults and several buildings in which they reside. So the name of the game is patience and strategy. Inside the boxes are files, photographs, letters, videos, medals and almost anything else you can imagine. When you seek something like statistical data, you need to understand how the archives is organized to save yourself time and frustration!
Finding statistical data can be challenging in any situation. Many online databases help facilitate the process such as:
Statistical insight is a Proquest Database for international statistics.
Proquest Statistical Datasets is part of Statistical Insight by Proquest with datasets.
LexisNexis statistical is also available via Proquest via the "Related Databases" drop down list at the top of the screen.
There are also guides to statistical resources at the library. Finding Statistics from the Undergraduate Library is organized by subject and provides an introduction to available published statistical resources. Finding Statistical Resources by the Law Librarians will guide you to appropriate resources for governmental, international, and legal resources.
Archival statistical data are often comprised of the raw material used in many of the published sources listed above. It can be challenging to use, but mostly requires an understanding of archives: how they are organized, how to conduct a search, and when to ask for professional help.
Finding statistical data in the archives is complicated. Statistical reports are produced by many departments, committees, and offices of the university and they are spread through out the archives. Suppose you want to know how the usage of computers as an instructional tool developed on campus. Where do you look? This guide will give you a start and point out some characteristics of the archives important for any search.
Identifying the material you need requires knowledge of the source you are searching; ultimately you are searching the University. The archives is organized to reflect its organization and structure.
If you have never worked in the archives before you might take a look at http://guides.library.illinois.edu/slc. If you still feel unsure please do not hesitate to ask! We will be happy to help you find material and the archivists here are well aware of the complexities of using these documents.