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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Using the Library During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Special Collections and University Archives

During the unique circumstances of the Fall 2020 semester, the staff in Special Collections and University Archives (SC&UA) continues to work diligently to provide the best possible support for UMW's students, faculty, and researchers working with our collections. We want you to know that you have several options to access a great deal of our unique materials, remotely or in person, and that we are here to help!

Hours and Services

The Special Collections and Archives Reading Room and the Digital Archiving Lab is open M-F by appointment only*.
*If you have an on-site appointment, please review the guidelines before arriving.

We are also still here to provide assistance remotely and are happy to arrange virtual services.

Contact SC&UA staff at Direct contact information for each staff member is listed here.

Remote Research Assistance and Consultations

Our Special Collections and University Archives team offers a number of ways to access reference help remotely. We are available to work with you in the format with which you're the most comfortable, be it email, phone, videoconferencing, or screen sharing. Individual contact information for each of our staff members is listed at the bottom of the page, or you can reach out to the department by emailing

Some of the online collaborative tools available to users include:

  • Zoom
    • With Zoom, we can host a group meeting for up to 40 minutes or host 1 on 1 meetings with no time limit. Screen sharing and file sharing can be done within the program. We can also provide recordings of presentations for your class if students are unable to attend a synchronous lecture. Please visit Digital Learning Support's resource page for instructions and more information.
  • Teams
    • Microsoft Teams can also provide videoconferencing, instant messaging, screen sharing, and other collaborative functions for meeting and working remotely. All UMW users have access to this technology through the University's Office 365 license. Contact us to learn more and let us know if we can help you set up a meeting this way.

Accessing SC&UA Resources Online

Special Collections and University Archives has a rich collection of digital materials available online and publicly accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Access is available to these online collections listed below.

  • Digital Collections
    • This site provides access to digitized items from Simpson Library’s Special Collections and University Archives department. Currently, there are eight collections available for you to search and browse.
  • Digitized Publications Archive
    • Digitized University publications are available online through Internet Archive and can be searched, browsed, or downloaded using the Library's Eagle Explorer tool.
  • UMW Web Archives
    • Several University-affiliated websites, blogs, social media pages, and newsletters have been fully archived with Archive-It, a subscription-based web archiving service. The archived web content is fully functional and can be accessed through browsing or full text search.
  • Eagle Scholar
    • The University's open access institutional repository, Eagle Scholar houses the scholarship, publications, archives, and creative works of the University of Mary Washington community. Student honors and master's papers are located here.
  • Finding Aids
    • Users looking for archival material not yet digitized can browse our finding aids, available online through Virginia Heritage. These are functional inventories of the physical materials in specific processed collections. While you may not be able to visit the items in person, please don't hesitate to contact us if you have a question about or interest in content you find listed here.
  • James Farmer Guide
    • For those working with materials related to James Farmer during the Farmer Legacy 2020 year, this site compiles available resources in Special Collections and throughout the library, the majority of which are available online.

Digital Archiving Lab

Beginning in the Fall 2020 semester, the Digital Archiving Lab is open M-F by appointment onlyContact Angie Kemp, Digital Resources Librarian, to arrange an on-site appointment or to schedule a remote consultation.

Requests for digitization of archival and rare material should be made using this form.
(Please note that this is separate from the library's general digitization request form, which can be found on the "Accessing Library Resources Online" page of this guide).

Because some of our unique items can be fragile or covered by specific copyright restrictions, please note that not all materials in our physical collections are available for digitization. Please contact us if you have questions about whether the item you need is available for digitization.

We encourage the UMW community to talk with us about active digital preservation and archiving strategies, especially during this rapidly changing time. Some resources to help you with your own archiving practices are listed below.

  • Webrecorder
    • Webrecorder is free, open-source software that can help you capture websites and preserve them while maintaining their dynamic components. See their FAQs for more information.
  • Personal Digital Archiving
    • This resource page from the Library of Congress provides an exhaustive list of tips and tools to help you develop your own personal digital archiving plan. DAL staff is available to discuss many of these topics with you if you're considering methods of archiving classwork, teaching materials, personal projects, or other digital materials.
  • Website Nomination Form
    • If you've written a blog, captured a site, or created a digital project, we'd love the opportunity to consider it for our digital archive! If your digital content is eligible for inclusion in the digital archive, you can ensure that your work will remain accessible without having to pay for hosting space or maintain the site yourself. View the form site and our Website Collection Development Policy for more information and please contact us if you have questions.

If you're recording your personal experiences during the pandemic, have you considered donating your materials to the University Archives? Please visit our blog or our Call to Contribute page for more information.

Donations and Transfers

SC&UA is accepting physical materials for donation or transfer to our collections on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions regarding a possible donation or transfer, please contact Carolyn Parsons, Head of Special Collections and University Archives.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Records Management

Please continue to direct any questions regarding public records and retention schedules to Sarah Appleby, Records Coordinator. We are happy to continue to work with you remotely through any of the methods previously mentioned above.

Contact Us

Carolyn Parsons, Head of Special Collections and University Archives

Angie Kemp, Digital Resources Librarian

Sarah Appleby, Records Coordinator