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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Step 1: Find an Archival Collection

Rwandan genocide testimony

Still image from the video testimony of Safi Mukundwa, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Video recorded by the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda, on February 28, 2007. Courtesy Genocide Archive Rwanda, Human Rights Documentation Initiative, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

UT-Austin is home to unique primary sources related to women’s human rights struggles.  You might choose to examine the early drafts of an author’s book, the journals of an activist, or an online video documenting human rights violations.

Archives are usually organized into groups based on the person or organization who created or assembled them.  For our purposes, a group of archival materials created by a particular person or organization is called a collection.  Different archives might use different terms, like record group, manuscript group, personal papers, or fonds, to identify sets of archival materials.  Here are some ways to find an archival collection related to women, gender, and human rights:

  • Your professor might have assigned a particular collection.  In that case, you can skip this step.
  • Search the website of UT’s Human Rights Documentation Initiative:
  • Although the Human Rights Documentation Initiative provides a straightforward way to identify a collection for your research, it is not an exhaustive list of all of UT-Austin’s materials related to women’s human rights.  Try searching for your topic in TARO (Texas Archival Resources Online).  Keep in mind that this will show results from all participating Texas archives, not just the ones located in Austin.  You can also search the websites of individual archival respositories on campus, or visit them in person to search their card catalogs and finding aids for materials not represented online.
  • You may choose to search for online archives beyond UT-Austin.  Check with your professor to make sure these fulfill the requirements of your project.  Here are some websites containing archives and primary source materials:
    • WITNESS, an international organization that advances human rights campaigns through the use of video.
    • American Memory, a digital library documenting American history provided by the Library of Congress.
    • North American Women’s Letters and Diaries, a collection of diaries and letters written by North American women between 1700 and 1950 (subscription database available to UT-Austin students).
    • Gerritsen Collection: Women's History Online, a collection of books, pamphlets, and periodicals related to feminism and women's rights.  Includes materials from Europe, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand between 1543 and 1945 (subscription database available to UT-Austin students).

Go to Step 2: Prepare for Research
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