Finding items in MASC

We’ve arranged and described many collections using finding aids. You can search our finding aids using Archives West, which will also display collections available at other Pacific Northwest institutions.

Finding aids include background and summary information, and usually a “container list” briefly describing the contents of the boxes and folders holding the collections’ items.

We also list “unprocessed collections” which have not yet been arranged or described. They are listed in our Accession Register for Manuscripts and in our Accession Register for University Archives. In general, these collections are available for use, but in some cases there may be access restrictions due to donor requirements, or the condition or nature of the items.

How to find items in MASC?

  • Use Search It for MASC – a specially-designed link to search our physical and digital collections in MASC
  • Archives West – search several western United States archives at once

Ask MASC staff – we are happy to help!

Remember – our items can only be used in our reading room during our open hours.

Browse Guides

Manuscript Collections

University Archives Collections

Guides by title

Historical Photograph Collections

Guides by title or subject


Please contact us for help in identifying, locating, and using MASC materials.

Collection use

In most cases, items from MASC collections have not been digitized and are not available online. Please visit MASC to use collections on-site, or contact us to request copies.

These materials are available for use by the Washington State University community and the general public. Access is provided in the Donald W. Bushaw reading room in MASC, located in the Terrell Library, down one floor from the entrance. Researchers are required to register, use great care in handling materials, maintain the order and arrangement of collections, and follow staff instructions.

Understanding our collection numbers

Processed manuscript collections are identified by collection numbers, or “call numbers” beginning with the term “Cage” (for example, Cage 442). Processed WSU Archives collections begin with the term “Archives.” Small manuscript collections usually have a 4-digit Cage number (for example, Cage 3089).

Many manuscript or archives collections in MASC have not yet been processed. These are identified with accession numbers beginning with “MS” or “UA” and the year of accession (for example, MS 2008-12). They are listed in the Accession Registers, but generally do not have catalog records or collection guides.

Numbers beginning with “CT” are assigned to collections consisting entirely of audio cassette tapes.

Numbers beginning with “PC” are assigned to collections consisting primarily of photographs.

Numbers beginning with “SC” are assigned to “special collections” consisting of unusual sets of materials which don’t neatly classify into the other areas.

Numbers beginning with “WSU” are from the WSU Publications collection.

Revised December 2021