Research Onsite at the Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive

Preliminary Work

Before arriving at the archive, researchers should conduct preliminary research with VNCA's research database, the Virtual Vietnam Archive, and schedule an appointment in the Reading Room.

While over 600,000 item records are available online, only about 20% of our era materials are digitized for online access. However, all materials are discoverable via the collection Finding Aids – collection-level description with background summary and detailed contents list with link to item records if the materials are digitized – that are all available in the Virtual Vietnam Archive. A substantial number of documents can be found on online, along with images, film, audio, oral history interviews and artifacts. Use links on the Search Home page of the Virtual Vietnam Archive to view Search Tips, specialized Search Guides (PDFs), and short Tutorial Videos highlighting search tools and site navigation to optimize use of the database.

Contact our Reference Archivist ( ; 806-742-9010) well in advance with topic details for assistance with:

  • 1) preliminary research by making suggestions for search strategies and the tools/materials most relevant to your topic,
  • 2) prioritizing your list of non-digitized materials to make best use of your time onsite,
  • 3) arranging for transportation of offsite materials to be available (this requires minimum of 3 days and weather cooperation), and
  • 4) reserving your dates in the Reading Room.

Check our Resources Page to see if your research topic fits into some of the subject guides and online exhibits VNCA staff have compiled.

Online preparation with the Virtual Archive ensures that you locate non-digitized materials and optimize your time onsite. It may also help you determine that all of the material in the archive on your topic is available online, so you may be able to use your research resources elsewhere.

Visiting the Archive

To optimize your time for conducting onsite research, please contact the Reference Archivist well in advance of your visit ( ; 806-742-9010). With advance preparation we will have requested materials available in the Reading Room when you arrive and schedule staff time to assist you. The best way to prepare for onsite research is to use the online resources we have available by conducting targeted keyword searches in VNCA's online research database, the Virtual Vietnam Archive, to compile a list of non-digitized materials. Before arriving at the archive, please familiarize yourself with the Reading Room Policies.

Reading Room Policies

The Reading Room is staffed by the Southwest Collections/Special Collections Library. The Reading Room is also used by the Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive and its patrons and is open to students, staff, faculty, and the general public. In order to provide quality service, the following policies have been established:

Reading Room Hours

*NOTE: VNCA staff are available to assist patrons in the Reading Room on Monday thru Friday 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM. It is absolutely necessary for you to coordinate with VNCA staff in advance if you plan to research in the Reading Room during the extended evening and Saturday hours (see Reading Room Hours for current schedule). VNCA staff are not in the building during the extended hours, so advance contact is required for your materials to be pulled and available when you arrive, and Reading Room staff to provide access. Only VNCA staff provide research consultation and pull VNCA materials for onsite patrons. Request archive material with VNCA staff Monday-Friday from 9 AM-4:45 PM or by email to make preparatory arrangements. VNCA Reference Assistance: ; 806-742-9010.

  • • 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday-Friday year round
  • • Closed Sunday
  • • Closed Federal Holidays and during the Texas Tech University Winter Break (TTU Holiday Schedule)
  • • All times are GMT-06:00 (Central)
  • • A Reading Room closing reminder is given 15 minutes before closing so patrons can wrap up and exit by closing time.
  • Extended Hours During TTU Semesters Only
  • • 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM Tuesday and Thursday (*see Note above)
  • • 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Saturday (*see Note above)
  • • More information on current schedule and holiday/semester break closures is available on the Reading Room Hours or VNCA Hours of Operation pages.

Materials in the archive collections do not circulate, and may be used only in the Reading Room. All materials are requested by completing a "Materials Request Form" (provided by the reading room staff) using one slip for each collection or book requested. After completing the form, present it to a Reference staff member, and the item(s) will be brought to you. The time needed to retrieve items will vary, depending on the type of material. Please note, some materials are stored offsite and will require a 24 hour or more notice to have them available in the reading room.

Food and beverages are not allowed in the Reading Room.

Researchers are allowed to use image capturing devices to include cameras and mobile phones, but must disable their phones and refrain from using them for phone communications while in the reading room.

Lockers for backpacks, briefcases, handbags, and other personal property are provided near the Reference Desk. Neither the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library nor the Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive assume any responsibility for lost or stolen items. All items taken into the Reading Room are subject to inspection.

Loose sheets of notes are allowed and will be stamped with the Southwest Collection's identification stamp. Laptop computers may also be used for note taking. Please use only pencils for note taking. Paper and pencils are available at the reference desk.

Materials must be handled with great care. Please retain the order in which manuscript and photograph collections are placed in the boxes and folders.

Photocopies of documents can be made for $0.20. Archive staff may prohibit the photocopying of fragile items. See the Duplication Prices and Policies for more information.

Materials may be placed on hold for 48 hours or two working days.

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel and literary property rights. It is up to the researcher to secure permission from the copyright holder to quote or publish from materials. Please see a staff member for the proper citation form.

Please do not hesitate to ask archive or reference staff for assistance or if you have questions concerning the handling and use of materials.