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Currey Seminar

This guide is a collection of information for student participating in Rose Library's Currey Seminar.

What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a tool created by an archivist that facilitates the discovery of information with a collection of records. Some institutions may call it a guide or an index, or even a calendar, but the purpose is all the same: to help researchers find the records they need.

What are some common parts of a finding aid?

  • Institutional Information: Where is the material and how to I contact them?
  • Descriptive Summary: Short summary or abstract of who created the records and what subjects they cover.
  • Administrative information: Are there restrictions on these records? Where did they come from?
  • Collection Description: In depth information on the creator, details of the records and how the archives has arranged the materials.
  • Container list: A list of what is actually in each box and/or folder. 

What are some important things to look out for?

  • Date range: The span of dates for materials in the collection. May also include "bulk dates", or, the time period in which the majority of the collection falls.
  • Extent: The physical size of the collection. In the U.S. this is commonly expressed in linear feet.
  • Language: The language(s) of materials in the collection. For international figures, this may include many different languages and the materials may not be translated.
  • Restrictions: Very important! Restriction notes will explain anything preventing you from having full access, like the fragility of the material or privacy or copyright concerns.
  • Related Materials/Split Collections: An indication of other related material available in the institution, or the existence of another collection from the same creator held in another archives.
  • Scope and Content: The topics and range of the materials. A collection of records from a specific person or organization may not reflect all the facets of their activities.