Historical Document Inventory (HDI)
The Historical Documents Inventory (HDI) was a project to locate, identify, describe and report all of the manuscripts and archives materials in New York State repositories.
The HDI records for each repository appear in the NYS Library's online catalog. (To search only the HDI and not the State Library's collection, select "Historic Documents Inventory" on the Library pull-down list.) However, the collections themselves to not reside at the State Library; they reside in approximately 1,250 repositories across New York State. Therefore, when viewing an HDI record in our catalog, you will need to check the LOCATION field to identify the HDI repository.
HDI records also appear in OCLC's Worldcat. They show up as being held by:
New York State Historical Documents
Albany, NY 12230 United States
Unfortunately, the Worldcat record doesn't include the LOCATION field with the actual location of the materials. If you originally found a record in Worldcat, you will need to then look the item up in the NYS Library catalog to identify the HDI repository.
New York State has many institutions that maintain the documentary evidence of its history. Manuscripts and archival materials that chronicle historical events on a local, State or national level are held by:
- 500 historical agencies,
- 2,200 public libraries, and
- 175 colleges and universities.
However, the great variety of repositories and the lack of a comprehensive finding aid can made it extremely difficult for researchers to locate the primary source materials needed for the study of New York State's history. To rectify this situation, in 1978 the New York Historical Resources Center began the Historical Documents Inventory, a Statewide survey of manuscripts and archives collections in repositories that are open to the public. The project was completed in 1993.
The survey resulted in the creation of a series of print guides, arranged by county, that include either repository descriptions or summaries of the holdings of particular repositories. These guides (Guide to historical resources in _xxx_ County, published by Cornell University) may be
- found in the State Library's reference collection or
- purchased from the State Archives.
No determination was made as to the historical or research value of particular collections. Therefore, all documentary materials found in the repositories were reported in the HDI guides.