Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Access to Collections

Finding materials

Collections which have been processed (prepared for researcher use by being arranged and described) are cataloged, and many of them also have more detailed descriptions. These collection guides, also called “finding aids,” are available on the MASC website and at Archives West.

Collection guides include background and summary information, and generally also a “container list“ reflecting the physical arrangement of the collection (contents of boxes and folder).

Unprocessed collections have not yet been arranged and 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 materials.

Search the library catalog for MASC materials:

Search the MASC website (including collection guides) by keyword:


Browse Guides

Manuscript Collections

University Archives Collections

Guides by title

Historical Photograph Collections

Guides by title or subject


Please contact us for assistance 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 2017

Open to Collaborate Our institution is committed to the development of new modes of collaboration, engagement, and partnership with Indigenous peoples for the care and stewardship of past and future heritage collections.

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671
Link to LibGuides GovDocs A Federal Depository Library | Contact Us | Website Feedback