Using Finding Aids
Using Finding Aids
You can browse AJHS finding aids on this page, or you can search them at the CJH Collections Database. Each Finding Aid has a navigation bar on the left hand side to help you jump to specific portions of the document. You can also use the search box above the navigation (or Ctrl +F) to look for specific words in the finding aid.
If a title or a search result suggests that a collection might be useful to you, open up the finding aid link.
Start off by reading the Abstract paragraph under the Descriptive Summary heading. This paragraph will give you a quick idea of what the collection is about and what it contains.
To find out quickly what is in the collection, jump to the Scope and Content Note using the navigation bar on the left. This section will tell you what is in the collection.
To learn why the collection is important, and better understand how it was created, read the Biographical Note for personal collections and the Historical Note for institutional collections. These give you the historical context for the collection.
Now you are ready to see details of what is in the collection. Go to the Arrangement heading in the left navigation bar. The page will jump to a listing of the Series and Subseries in the collection. A series is a group of records and papers that are related; it can be a few folders or a hundred boxes. Series are an intellectual way archivists organize collections. Read series titles and dates. If any look useful to you, click to jump.
When you are looking at the start of a series, you will see information about the series you selected. Arrangement will tell you a bit about how to interpret the folder titles below. The new scope and content you see is specific for the series—READ IT. It will tell you exactly what is in the series and help you understand what the folder titles mean.
Scroll through the titles in the series. The titles describe the contents of each folder in the collection. The box numbers help us find items in the collection. The call/catalog number, box number, and folder number together enable us to pinpoint each folder in our large archives.
Click on the FOLDER ICON next to the item you want to place on hold, sign up for our library card, fill out the form, plan your trip to the Center, and we'll do the rest!