Service Levels

Wellesley College Archives Service Levels and Priorities

About the Wellesley College Archives

The Archives collects materials that document the history of Wellesley College, maintains these collections over time, and supports research in our collections by members of the College community and external researchers.

In order to provide effective research services, Archives staff must devote time to acquiring and describing new collections so they can be used in the future. Our access and research support services seek to balance the needs of current researchers with the needs of future researchers.

Access to the Archives

The Wellesley College Archives reading room is open to all researchers. Appointments are available by contacting Archives staff at There is no limit on the number of appointments that researchers can make, the total amount of time they can spend in the reading room, or the total number of boxes they may request. Archives staff will assist with locating relevant collections within the limits of our service levels (see below for service levels based on user type). Once those limits have been reached, researchers are responsible for identifying the specific materials they would like to see by using the Wellesley Library’s online catalog and the Archives’ online finding aids and inventories.

Appointments are not required to visit the Archives; however, we cannot always accommodate unscheduled researchers in our reading room, and staff are not always available during normal reading room hours when no researchers are scheduled. Most of our collections must be retrieved from closed stacks or from offsite storage, so we encourage all researchers to make appointments as far in advance as possible to ensure reading room service and to make the best use of their visit.

Collections held by the Archives do not circulate. In some instances, publicly available digital surrogates of items or collections may exist. Research can often be initiated, or even completed, using these online resources:

Digitized Archives materials in the Digital Repository 
The Wellesley College Archives Image Gallery

Services provided

Reading room service: According to our access guidelines, the Archives welcomes researchers to identify collections for use in the Archives reading room and perform their own research. Unless otherwise noted, researchers working in the reading room can take photos of materials for personal use. Please consult the website for reading room hours and email to arrange an appointment to visit the reading room.

Group visits: The Archives welcomes groups to visit the Archives with at least two weeks prior notice. The Archives especially welcomes Wellesley College class visits and are pleased to support instruction in research methods using primary source materials.

Research service: According to time limits determined by user type (see below), Archives staff will:

  • identify relevant collections, or portions of collections, for reading room use or digitization

  • perform research in collections, looking for specific information requested by researchers

Digitization: The Archives, in partnership with the Library and Technology Services Digital Collections staff, maintains an active digitization program. Depending on considerations of restriction, format, condition, and extent of the request, the Archives may provide digital surrogates of certain materials. Advance notice is required and estimates for digitization time will be provided when a request is initiated. Digitization requests are typically processed within 1-2 months, depending on the extent of the request, and may take longer. Please contact to initiate a digitization request.

  • Unrestricted documents, photos, and other two-dimensional items that can be safely placed on a flatbed scanner can be requested for in-house digitization. There is no charge for in-house digitization requests.

  • Oversized (larger than 11” x 17”) and/or fragile two-dimensional items, three-dimensional objects, scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials may need to be digitized offsite by a trusted third-party vendor. The Archives evaluates these digitization requests on a case-by-case basis, and all associated costs are passed on to researchers.


Services not provided

Research beyond the scope of the Archives’ collections: Members of the Wellesley College community can contact Clapp Library staff for general research help.

Research in digitized collections: Archives staff cannot perform research in materials that are available online, such as our digitized publications in the Wellesley College Digital Scholarship and Archive and Archives Image Gallery. Members of the Wellesley College community needing technical assistance with these online resources may contact Clapp Library staff.

Printing and photocopying: The Archives does not offer self-service printing and photocopying or provide these services for researchers. Members of the Wellesley College community can take advantage of campus printing services to print photos taken during research and digital files provided by the Archives.

Delivery of paper files: The Archives provides storage for active records, which can be returned to their originating departments if needed. Authorized staff must pick up these files at the Archives. They cannot be delivered by Archives staff or sent through campus mail.


Service levels by user type

The Office of the President, Board of Trustees, and College staff working on behalf of these groups:
Initial response time: as soon as possible
Total research time: Unlimited

Wellesley College Emeriti/ae, Faculty, and Staff
Initial response time: 1 business day
Total research time: 5 hours. First hour of research time within one week. After that, four hours of research time within the next month.

Current Wellesley College Students:
Initial response time: 1 business day
Total research time: 5 hours. First hour of research time within one week. After that, four hours of research time within the next month. For class assignments, Archives staff will assist in locating relevant collections, but students are responsible for searching within those collections.

Individual Wellesley College alumnae/alumnae organizations
Initial response time: 2 business days
Total research time: 3 hours. First hour of research time within two weeks. After that, two hours of research time within the next month.

All external researchers
Initial response time: 3 business days
Total research time: 1 hour within one month