What is a finding aid, and how do I use it? Last Updated: Mar 16, 2021 Views: 1
A finding aid is a tool for accessing the documents and items contained within an archival collection. The aid describes the contents of the collection, both what the items are and exactly where they are located, so that researchers can "find" them. At its most basic, a finding aid can be an inventory or spreadsheet, but NYSID's finding aids in our ArchivesSpace catalog are relational--so each item or folder can be linked to creators, subjects, and sometimes digital surrogates (digitized images) within the catalog--and a database contains much more metadata than a spreadsheet finding aid. Each finding aid will also include biographical information about the creator of the collection, and often historical background for the material, allowing researchers not only access to the material but also insight into the contents.