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The Archive of Documentary Arts is part of Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Its mission is to collect, promote, preserve, and provide access to audio, moving images, photography, and text from around the world related to the history of documentary arts.




We work to ensure collections are available and accessible to a diverse group of individuals. We strive to expand and strengthen avenues of access that are equitable and open. We balance this with the appropriate privacy restrictions. While we try to honor these limits requested by creators or donors of collections, we also seek to foster accountability and will conduct a through review of restrictions prior to accepting materials. We support teaching and access by campus users as well as welcome those that come from beyond our campus community.

A number of our collections are tagged with physical/technical restrictions due to the fragility of the original media, such as cassette tapes, 16mm film, and negatives among others. They are available to view either on the Digital Repository, or via use copies or digital copies in the Reading Room.

We recognize there are times when viewing the original media is warranted for research. In order to request access to the physical media or to inquire about any restrictions on collections in the Archive of Documentary Arts please email Caitlin Margaret Kelly, curator, at, or via phone at 919-681-7963, or you may reach out to J. Andrew Armacost, head of collection development for the Rubenstein Library.


Collection Awards

The Archive of Documentary Arts is committed to diversifying its collection in order to better reflect the multitude of viewpoints and communities from which work is being made in the documentary arts today. We have made the decision to pause our collection awards as we revisit our goals for the awards and application process.