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WKU Archives

Location: Kentucky Building  
Harrison Baird Reading Room

Hours: Monday – Friday 9 – 4*
Closings:  July 4

Telephone: 270-745-4793
Address: 1906 College Heights Blvd., #11092, Bowling Green, KY, 42101-1092


100,000+ photos, 17,000+ digitized in KenCat
2500+ cubic feet of paper records
450+ collection inventories in TopScholar
10,000+ digitized items in TopScholar
275+ videos on YouTube
Read our Out of the Box newsletter. 
WKU Thesis Digitization Project 

Resources for Students / Researchers

Resources for Faculty / Staff

Services Provided

Basic Reference - Ask a Question
Services & Fees
Student employment - no current vacancies
Volunteer Opportunities


Archival Terminology

Collection Inventory - Description of the records housed in a particular record group. 

KenCat - an abbreviation for Kentucky Catalog of Online Collections. A searchable database that includes a wide variety of descriptions of books, manuscripts, photographs and objects housed in Library Special Collections and the Kentucky Museum. These materials do not circulate. 

One-Search Library Catalog - name for the WKU Libraries consolidated search engine which gives users results across nearly all library collections with a relevant-ranked list similar to a Google search. 

Provenance – creator(s) and circumstances under which records were originally created. 

Record Group – a collection of records that share the same provenance and are of a convenient size for administration.  In WKU Archives record groups align with offices, colleges and departments.

Record Series – basic unit for organizing and controlling files. A group of files or documents kept together (either physically or intellectually) because they relate to a particular subject or function or result from the same activity.  Examples: Subject Files, Correspondence, Construction Files

Research Guide – Research guides created by subject librarians, archivists and museum curators regarding available resources on a particular subject.

See specifically WKU Archives for pre-programmed links on a variety of topics related to the history of WKU, faculty, staff, students and alumni.

TopScholar - name for the WKU Institutional Repository.  TopSCHOLAR is a University-wide, centralized digital storehouse dedicated to scholarly research, creative activity and other full-text learning resources that merit enduring and archival value and permanent access. There you will find full-text documents such as theses, dissertations and articles, class lectures, audio and video files. 

WKU Archives section contains full-text historical documents, oversized photographs, maps, audio and video files as well as collection inventories.

About WKU Archives

WKU Archives serves the university's historical, administrative, legal and records management needs by overseeing permanent records created by and about Western Kentucky University. WKU Archives also functions as the collective memory of the institution by preserving materials produced by faculty, staff, students and alumni.  Holdings include but are not limited to administrative records, newspapers, minutes, departmental files, university publications, photographs, memorabilia and audiovisual materials.

WKU Archives is open to all researchers interested in the history of WKU, its founding institutions, employees and students.  For full access to materials visit us in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room located on the second floor of the Kentucky Building.  Researchers are invited to request information via mail, email and telephone.  In order to provide the best care for our collections our stacks are secure and items non-circulating.  Please assist us by following the reading room policies. Click here to submit a reference request via e-mail or write to us. 

We are happy to assist you during your visit and all researchers are encouraged to consult with the archivist prior to their visit in order to maximize research time. 

Read our Out of the Box newsletter. 

Assist Us!

Do you have these items? - WKU Archives Wish List
Tell us about Your Discovery in the WKU Archives
*Bibliographic instruction and evening or weekend class sessions / tours may be scheduled by contacting

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
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Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
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Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
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Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
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Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
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 Last Modified 6/4/18