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Duke Human Rights Archive: Getting Started

The Human Rights Archive @ The Rubenstein Library

Welcome!  This libguide introduces you to the holdings of The Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library.  The Human Rights Archive builds collections of primary sources that tell the modern history of human rights across many different international and thematic contexts. Our collections consist of personal papers, organizational records, and rare print materials that document human rights advocacy of grassroots organizations and transnational NGOs, religious and political leaders, human rights advocates and artists. 

The Human Rights Archive's holdings are consulted in the Rubenstein Library at Duke University.  Learn how to register as a Rubenstein researcher, search the catalog, understand a collection guide, request materials, and access our collections at the Rubenstein Library's Research Page.

New to Archival Research?

Looking for Secondary Sources?

If you are looking for help with a human rights related research project and require secondary sources such as books, journal articles, audio-visual materials, and other scholarly publications, or are looking for databases of articles, newspapers, or other digitized resources please consult with the appropriate Duke University Libraries subject librarian or search our subject guides.

What is an archive?

An organized collection of the noncurrent records of the activities of a business, government, organization, institution, or other corporate body, or the personal papers of one or more individuals, families, or groups, retained permanently (or for a designated or indeterminate period of time) by their originator or a successor for their permanent historical, informational, evidential, legal, administrative, or monetary value, usually in a repository managed and maintained by a trained archivist (see this example). Also refers to the office or organization responsible for appraising, selecting, preserving, and providing accessto archival materials.

Archives can be classified in three broad categories:

The term is also used in academia to refer to a repository of electronic preprints, working papers, and similar documents, commonly called e-print archives. Used in this sense, there is no implication of archival management, which has caused some confusion, for example, around the purpose of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI).

From: Joan M. Reitz.  ODLIS Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science. 

Human Rights Archivist

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Patrick Stawski
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Duke University, Box 90185
Durham, NC 27708
Email me:
Call me:919-660-5823