Here is a selective list of definitions useful in the study of literary archives. For additional information, see The Dictionary of Archives Terminology from the Society of American Archivists (SAA).
Using archives generally (online or in-person)
Know the repository – familiarize yourself with their web site. What is their subject focus, location, hours, policies & procedures, contact points, rules? Do this work before you visit or contact them. You'll get much better assistance.
Remember that research takes time -- archival repositories can't always respond immediately or within the timeframe you'd like so plan and work ahead.
Using collections in person?
Using collections online?
Best practices include...