Archival Research

What is archival research?

Archival research is research that involves searching for and extracting information and evidence from original archives. Archives are historical – non-current – documents, records and other sources relating to the activities and claims of individuals, entities or both. They exist both to preserve historic material of value and to make it available for future use.

Archives are usually held either by an individual organisation or government body or in some type of repository, such as a library or a database.

Archival research provides information of interest to research professionals across a wide range of fields, including journalists and other media professionals, researchers, historians, genealogists, knowledge managers, legal professionals and more. Given the vast sea of archived material available, archival research is typically more complex and time-consuming than your average online search, but it often yields more reliable results.

Finding reliable archives

When you’re conducting archival research, you want to know, with confidence, that the information and evidence you uncover is credible and accurate – that it comes from sources you can trust. As we all know, a lot of information available on the internet is not reviewed or vetted. Much of it is outdated or isn’t even factual. We’re living in an era of fake news.

You want to know that the information you unearth:

  • is comprehensive and up-to-date
  • is well-researched in itself, with strong evidence and supported claims
  • is relevant to your needs
  • provides a balanced, multiperspective view

Types of archives and archived material

Depending on the type of archive you’re using, the research process varies. A number of archive types exist, including business, academic, government and non-profit archives.

Archived information likewise runs the gamut with a wide range of materials and formats, such as newspapers and other periodicals, both published and unpublished manuscripts, letters, photographs, videos, charts, graphs, audio recordings, artworks, books, maps, diaries, artefacts, social media histories, and more.

Whichever type of archive you’re using, and no matter what you’re looking for, you ultimately want a powerful resource that will find and cull the data you need (and only what you need), from the names of people and organisations, dates, places and events to in-depth particulars. This resource should draw on the likes of relevant primary news sources, secondary sources that provide solid background information, reference works, legitimate legal and business publications, transcripts, wire services and more.

Nexis®

Nexis® is a robust online service for your strategic news and business research. The Nexis® database includes an archive that reaches back more than 40 years, providing results that serve up not just today’s headlines but the whole backstory. This vast, decades-deep archive holds an unparalleled collection of global and local news content and public records that takes your research to the next level.

With Nexis®, you have access at your fingertips to:

  • 40,000 expert-curated news and business sources, including more than 23,000 international newspapers and more than 7,000 trade magazines
  • premium print and web news, as well as select social media sources and blogs
  • 600 company and financial sources, including company databases with information on more than 200 million national and international companies
  • 300 industry sources
  • more than 500 executive and biographical sources
  • regulatory and legal content
  • more than 78 billion public records

And by getting past those dreaded paywalls, you’ll also have access to valuable gated content. Plus, Nexis® offers powerful indexing and analytics functions to help you organise and interpret your searches and findings.

This array of invaluable archived assets means Nexis® delivers the right research results every time, enabling you to make intelligent, informed, impactful decisions for your business.

What’s more, Nexis is adding to its archive every minute, every hour, every day. The upshot? Nexis is the ultimate news archive – and more.