Archival Finding Aids

Authored by: Su Kim Chung , Karla Irwin

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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Archival finding aids serve as the primary means by which users can obtain intellectual access to collections of primary source materials be they archives or manuscripts. Although the term may reference the general guide to a repository’s collections as a whole, it is more commonly thought of as the guide to an individual collection within a repository. In addition to describing the physical contents of an archival collection, the finding aid comprises other identifying, contextual, and administrative information about the materials. The online environment has led to significant changes in the archival finding aid in the past decade with the development of the encoded archival description, Describing Archives: A Content Standard, archival collection management systems, links to digital content, and the addition of Web 2.0 features that seek to add interactive qualities to online finding aids. The future is certain to see continued development and refinement of the finding aid as more materials are born digital or are digitized and ways are developed to describe them in the context of a user-friendly finding aid.

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