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Finding Aids Slides


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Introduction to creating archival finding aids, for Society of Indiana Archivists Fall Workshop 2011

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Finding Aids Slides

  1. 1. Best Practices for Creating Finding Aids So you’ve processed the collection, now what?? By jennifer whitlock, archivist, Indianapolis Museum of Art, for Society of Indiana Archivists Workshop Fall 2011
  2. 2. What is a Finding Aid? A description of an archival collection usually containing the history of the creator as well as an inventory of the contents. created in various electronic and print formats, including word processor document, spreadsheet, database, paper list, index cards, etc.
  3. 3. Sterling Library, Yale University Catalog.jpg County of San Diego Public Records School “FindingAids” Oregon State Archives l
  4. 4. Paper Finding Aid Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
  5. 5. Online Finding Aid
  6. 6. Hierarchy or “nesting” levels of descriptionBroader to more specificTop level description will be inherited by subsequent levels Collectio n Series Sub- series folder item
  7. 7. How do you make it useful to your patrons? Top level (usually collection or record group level) minimum:  Unique ID code  Repository info  Title  Date  Extent – linear feet, cubic feet, number of boxes  Name of creator  Scope and Content  Access Conditions or restrictions  Language of the Material Next level (series or record series) includes all of the above unless it is the same or if it needs more specific information
  8. 8. How do you make it useful to your patrons?Multilevel Optimum:All of the previous Plus: Administrative/Biographical History Scope and Content (including full detailed description) Access pointsCan add any additional elements that might be useful…
  9. 9. How do you make it useful to your patrons? Every collection is different - not all elements will be used for every collection Tailor description to suit the size, importance, and
  10. 10. Links to example finding aids Guggenheim york/collections/library-and-archives/archive- collections Archives of American Art Greene & Greene Virtual Archives eene/ 075x
  11. 11. Playing well with othersStandards for content General International Standard Archival Description ISAD(G) Describing Archives: A Content Standard DA:CS [based on ISAD(G)] Rules for Archival Description RAD [Canadian]
  12. 12. …Playing well with others…Describing Archives: A Content Standard DA:CS  Scope and Content  Historical/Biographical  Access Points
  13. 13. ...Playing well with others…Access PointsControlled Vocabularies and Specialized ThesaurusInternational Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR(CPF))  LC Subject headings (LCSH)  LC Authority Headings bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First  LC Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I: Subject terms (TGM I)
  14. 14. …Playing well with others…Access PointsControlled Vocabularies and Specialized Thesaurus Getty Vocabularies  Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)  Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)  Getty Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) Thesaurus for Use in College and University Archives
  15. 15. …Playing well with others…Standards for formatThe standard machine-readable format for manuscript collection finding aids, widely used in the United States, England, Canada, and Australia, is MAchine-Readable Cataloging usually Collection level record searchable with library materials
  16. 16. …Playing well with others…Software:XML editing programs: Examples: Xmetal, NoteTab (w/EAD Cookbook), Oxygen, etc. Even MS Word tries to use XML Apply XSLT (stylesheets) for display Convert to HTML for web display Disadvantages: Does not support other archival functions: reference, accessions, locations, etc. Not as user friendly as archives specific software No display features No digital image metadata or support
  17. 17. …Playing well with others…•Not only for findingaids, supports manyarchival management Open Source Archives Management Toolsfunctions•one searchable database•Can export EAD (andMARC) and collaborate•User friendly interface•Designed for archivists byarchivists•Community inputBUT…Free as in kittens not as inbeer
  18. 18. …Playing well with others…Consortia or portals:Arizona Archives online: Archives of California: Digital Archives: Mountain Online Archive: Archival Resources Online: Link Finding Aid Repository: Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online: Florida:
  19. 19. …Playing well with others…Consortia or portals:We need a EAD finding aid portal for Indiana! Who’s in? Indiana Memory, Indiana Digital Library
  20. 20. Future of the Finding AidWhat’s next? Visualization, Timelines, graphs, mapping Augmented reality Interactive, custom display based on user needs Tagging, researcher comments, user created description Cool like the commercial website Visual rather than purely textualOpen the door to whole new audiences….
  21. 21. DEMO!!!!
  22. 22. Let’s make a finding aid