Oregon Secretary of State

Reference Room

​​​​​​​​Nearly all records in an archives are unique and irreplaceable. For this reason, researchers do not have direct access to the records storage areas. Reference archivists will assist you in finding aids and resources. 

Services Available

Reference Archivists

Three reference archivists generally work in the reference room, but other duties such as retrieving records and conducting inventories may take them to other parts of the building. For security reasons and to provide research assistance, at least one reference archivist remains in the room during business hours.

Archivists have educational backgrounds in history, government, political science, library and information sciences. Archivists at the Oregon State Archives are required to hold a Master's Degree and certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists​. Reference archivists are generalists in a range of subject matter (e.g., law, water resources, genealogy). They have a good overview of Oregon government, but also rely on finding aids, indexes, search engines and other resources.

Assistance Provided

Most visits begin with the reference interview, which is an exchange of information to find out if the Archives has records useful to your research. After submitting the records use form to the reference archivist, you will be asked a few questions so the archivist can learn more about your research.

The reference archivist may refer to specific finding aids, indexes, microforms, or other resources for information. You may also be referred to the Oregon State Archives website or other online repositories. The reference archivist is there to assist you, not to conduct the research. The archivist will not interpret content (e.g., legislative intent, court decisions) or search boxes looking for specific documents. The archivist can help you become familiar with using finding aids, indexes, microform reader/printers, photocopy machines and other tools of the reference room.
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Hours of Operation

The Archives is open by appointment. To order records, please submit our online request form or to schedule an in-person appointment contact us at 503-373-0701 (option 1) or Reference.Archives@sos.oregon.gov​​. Appointments are available Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (excluding holidays).

Several wooden tables and chairs fill the reference room.
The David C. Duniway Reference Room is named in honor of Oregon's 1st state archivist. The room can accommodate 30 researchers. It features self-service photocopiers, microfilm reader/printers, cassette players, reel to reel players, Wi-Fi internet access and a patron use computer.​​