Learn more about Finding Aids

The Tufts Digital Library contains documents called "finding aids" that describe the contents of archival collections in order to assist researchers in understanding our materials. Only some of DCA's holdings are available digitally; in those cases, the finding aid will link to the digital material. But the finding aids also describe the archival materials which are not available via the web, so researchers can better determine if materials in our collections will be useful to them.

Most of our collection guides contain the following elements:

Overview
This section of the collection guide includes general information about the collection, including the title, the call number used to identify it a DCA, the size of the collection (quantity of physical and digital materials), a brief introduction to the creator as well as links to lengthier biographies or histories of the creators, and a summary description of what the collection contains.
Contents
The contents provides a summary of the contents of the collection. This section may also include comments on the arrangement of the collection and the kinds of materials (such as correspondence or diaries) that may found in it.
Series Description
This section provides a description of the made arrangements of the materials in the collection as well as links to more detailed descriptions and content lists.
Names and Description
Subject headings, such as those found in a library catalog, are provided for each collection.
Related Collections
Links to other collections which a researcher might find of interest.
Access and Use
This section contains information regarding restrictions on using the collection and any important copyright information.
Administrative Notes
This section contains information regarding the acquisition and processing of the collection, as well as various other notes that may be of interest to those who want to use the collection to conduct research.
Detailed Contents List
Once you have entered a Series Description section, you will have access to a detailed listing of the contents of the collection. In most collection guides, the detailed description will follow a general order of: subgroup, series, and folder. The box and folder number (which appear on the left-hand side of the screen) are used to locate the materials. If materials are available online they will be linked from the detailed contents list. Note that not every item in the archives is described individually. For many collections, we simply have a description of the folder (e.g. "Correspondence and Reports, 1958-59"), rather than a listing of every item in that folder. Although this section contains the actual inventory to the contents of the collection, it is important to read the front matter, too--especially the Historical Note, Content Description, and Arrangement--to understand the context of the items.