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Archives Research Center General Research Guide: Understanding Records

Identifying and locating primary sources at the Archives Research Center and Beyond

Collection Overview

The first page of a collection record is the collection overview. Researchers will see at the top the title of the collection, the number of boxes in the collection, the type of record, and the identifier for the collection.

Below this information, researchers will see several notes and other information about the collection:

Scope and contents:  This note is a narrative statement summarizing the characteristics of the described materials, the functions and activities that produced them, and the types of information contained therein.

Biographical/Historical note: This note is the part of a finding aid that places the materials in context by providing basic information about the materials' creator or author

Rights statement: This note describes the copyright information for the collection.

Access restrictions: This note contains information about any restrictions on being able to access materials in the collection.

Dates: Dates of when the materials were created.

Creator: The individual, group, or organization that is responsible for something's production, accumulation, or formation.

Extent: A description of the physical quantity of the material described. Also known as the size of the collection

Language of materials: The language of the collection

Towards the bottom additional information under Expand All. By clicking on Expand All, all other fields will be opened. Fields under Expand All include:

Additional Description: This collection includes other notes, such as arrangement, which describes how the collection has been arranged.

Subjects: This section also includes a list of the themes and topics found within the collection.

Related Names: This section also includes the name of the creator, as well as other persons, families, and/or organizations associated with the collection.

Finding Aid and Administrative Information: This section includes information about the finding aid, such as when the finding aid was created and who created it. 

Physical Storage Information: This section includes information about on the number of boxes in the collection. 

Repository Details: This section includes information about the Archives Research Center, such as our contact information and website.

In the top right-hand corner, there are three buttons: Citation, Request, and Print.

Citation: This button can be used to cite the collection

Request: This button can be used to request materials.

Print: This button can be used to download and print a PDF of the finding aid.

Collection Organization

The collection organization tab of a collection record shows a scrolling finding aid of the collection. This scrolling finding aid shows each record in the collection's hierarchy: series, subseries, and files. This tab will show some notes, such as scope and contents, as well as dates and physical storage information. Researchers can click on any record in the finding aid to open the record and view more information.

Additionally, researchers are able to navigate through the collection using the right-hand Collection Organization sidebar. In the collection organization view, the sidebar will show the current record being shown in the scrolling finding aid. This bar also appears on the collection overview page and on the right side of any series or file record. The black arrows will expand the series and sub-series to show the additional records. 

Container Inventory

The Container Inventory tab of a collection record shows a list of all the boxes associated with a collection. From the inventory page, researchers can also researcher can also filter the containers by Type and Series. By clicking on a box, researchers are able to see every record linked to that box. 

Series/File Records

Series and file records give information about these records in a finding aid.

These records include a title, dates, box and folder numbers, notes, and collection information.