Understanding the Process: Archival Finding Aid Sample

courtesy of wjnieuwstad.wordpress.com

One of my archives and manuscripts course assignments was to develop a finding aid for a collection of papers given to me by my instructor. The materials were in PDF format and there were over 70 files, many had multiple pages, which made the arrangement and subsequent description of the materials interesting, fun, and time consuming.

So much goes into creating a finding aid. An archivist’s job here is to describe and list the materials in a manner that will assist researchers in the most effective way while also making the material accessible to researchers from, in this case, the archive’s Web site. This is done by the use of keywords and searchable terms from the archive’s search functions.

Another factor in the creation process is an archivist’s time. They cannot devote a great deal of time to creating finding aids, since this is not their only job duty. However, archivists are responsible for creating a finding aid for every aspect of their archival collection. Most archival collections have not accomplished this, making it that much more important and also drawing attention to the amount of time it takes to create them and the daunting task faced by archivists.

What follows is the finding aid I created for these materials, including an inventory list.

Let me know your thoughts regarding this finding aid.

Also what experiences have you had with using finding aids?

Thanks for reading!

The finding aid is below.
Continue reading