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The Observer Records

Identifier: OBS

Scope and Contents

Records of The Observer, including a large collection of photographs, a collection of issues of the newspaper, and a digital collection with black-and-white and color page images of the newspaper.

The photograph collection from The Observer contains multiple formats. The print and negative collection of The Observer graphics (GOBS) ranges in dates from 1988-2002. Since 2002, the student photographers have been using digital photography. This is not a complete collection of all photos published in The Observer. In many cases, the student photographers retained their original prints and negatives.

The print and negative collection is arranged first by photographer, then in chronological order, where such information is available.

The digital photograph collection is arranged by academic year and then sorted under three major headings: News, Scene, and Sports. For the most part, this is the same arrangement The Observer student photographers maintained. Generally the original file name has little use as it was the generic name the camera assigned to the file. The exception would be found in the "selects" files. The "selects" folder reflects the choice images of The Observer staff photographer. The staff photographers would also edit these images for publication. An original, untouched version may not still exist in all cases.

The Archivist created descriptions for the finding aid pulled directly from The Observer articles to which the photographs correspond. The dates associated with the photos are generally either the date the photo was taken or the anticipated publication date.

There is additional metadata (keywords, file size, camera specifications, etc.) associated with each digital file that is not reported in this finding aid.


  • Creation: 1966-[ongoing].


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Access to university records in any format (paper, digital, photographic, or audiovisual) is governed by state and federal laws, University of Notre Dame policy, and the University of Notre Dame Archives Access Guidelines and is subject to review under the supervision of the Head of the University Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or publicly disseminate reproductions of any material obtained from the University Archives must be secured from the University Archives and any additional copyright owners prior to such use. Please see Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use of Material for additional information.

Biographical / Historical

The Observer is the independent, student-run, daily print and online newspaper serving Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College. The Observer was established in 1966 and began offering an online electronic format since 1999 in addition to the traditional print version. The Observer publishes stories about local events and issues that affect students and staff members of both institutions. The major sections of the newspaper with articles written by students includes Viewpoint (the editorial columns), News, Sports, and Scene (the entertainment section). As an Associated Press newspaper, The Observer prints wire stories and graphics to inform readers of national and world news and sports.

Story ideas predominantly are generated by student reporters who focus on specific beats or who regularly cover council meetings and sporting events. Story ideas also come from advertisements in The Observer and on campus posters, as well as from Notre Dame's Office of Public Relations, Saint Mary's Department of Marketing and Communications, Information and Sports Information Department and Saint Mary's Athletic Department. Important also are tips from members of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary's community who call, write or e-mail The Observer staff regarding upcoming events or interesting features.

Members of clubs or dorms sponsoring events are encouraged to complete an "Of Interest" or a "Sports Briefs" form, available at The Observer office, several days before an event. This information will run as part of a bi-weekly community calendar. As an alternative, groups may purchase advertisement at special campus rates. As a rule, The Observer does not publish previews of lectures or events which reporters plan to cover, excepting circumstances in which speakers are nationally or internationally renowned. Previews are also run when it is not feasible for a reporter to attend an event or when a preview is more appropriate than a post-event article. Sports previews and wrap-ups generally are assigned for all varsity games; big games or championships in club and dorm leagues are also reported.


3.75 linear feet; 20 Boxes of photographs; 200,000+ digital files.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Observer

Related Materials

Legal Status


The Observer Records
University of Notre Dame Archives
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Archives Repository

607 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame Indiana 46556 United States
(574) 631-6448