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About Finding Aids

A finding aid is a guide created when a collection is processed that describes a grouping of records, documents, or even a single document. It is the primary way most researchers discover the contents of an archival or manuscript collection.

Minimally, finding aids are made up of a set of standard elements: the name of the creator or creating entity; the name and address of the repository or holding institution (in this case Dartmouth College); a biographical sketch or historical note providing an overview of the creator or creating entity; a scope and content note providing an overview of the materials in the collection; and a list of boxes with descriptions of the contents of each box.

Some finding aids may also include: an abstract or very brief description of the collection and its creator; series descriptions describing of the contents of each series; box and folder listings providing the title of each folder within the boxes; restriction statements describing limitations on use of the materials; a provenance note describing the custodial history of the papers or records; an extent statement providing the size of the collection, and the dates covered.

Finding Aids