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Conducting Research in Special Collections

Searching Finding Aids

Manuscript collections include personal, professional, and family papers; business and organizational records; and other unique, typically unpublished historical documents in a variety of formats, from scrapbooks to correspondence to digital media.Each collection is most commonly described by a finding aid, a guide to a collection and its contents. Our finding aids are available online through ArchivesSpace at the University of Arkansas.

For guidance on using our finding aids to make requests for materials, please view our tutorial videos on using finding aids in ArchivesSpace.

Reading the Elements of a Finding Aid

All of the archival collections available to researchers in Special Collections have been given "finding aids" to help researchers and understand and access the different materials in the archive.

Important elements of the finding include:

  • Scope and Collection Note (What subject areas are included in the archive)
  • Dates (general date range included in the entire collection)
  • Language
  • Access and use information (If any portions are restricted, notice of that is given here.)
  • Biographical Note (background information on the individuals or groups related to the materials in the archive)
  • Extent (overall size of the archive)
  • Description of the organization and grouping of the primary portions of the archives.
  • Inventory of the all of the containers available to be requested.