What is a Finding Aid?
The Society of American Archivists defines a finding aid as a
'description of records that gives the repository physical and intellectual control over
the materials and that assists users to gain access to and understand the materials.'
Here are the basic parts of a finding aid:
- a description of the records in a collection, or scope and content
- a brief biography or history of the person or group of people who
created the records
- a list of the records in the collection, or inventory
The scope and content note and the historical note help you, the researcher, more fully
understand the context in which the records were created. The inventory (usually a
list of folders, sometimes of boxes or even individual items) helps the user to
determine whether or not a particular item or piece of information is likely to appear
in the collection. Many of the collections in the University Archives are described by
finding aids, which are searchable through our 'Explore Our Collections' page. If you have any
questions about using finding aids, don't hesitate to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How our Collections are Arranged
The abbreviations before each collection title represent each collection's unique
identifier, which we use to track collections. Each abbreviation contains some useful
information for researchers.
'MC' indicates a Manuscript collection. These are
archival records donated to the archives by individuals or organizations. Individuals
might be affiliated with Drexel (faculty, alumni, etc.), but the records are not
'official' records of Drexel University.
'UR' indicates a University Records collection. The
records of Drexel's colleges and schools, academic departments, administrative offices,
etc. are organized in the Archives into the following categories:
- Office of the President
- Board of Trustees
- Students, faculty, and staff
- Campus organizations (other than Greek letter orgs)
- Committees, projects, and reports
- Public relations
- Fraternities and sororities
For example, UR 1.1 is the records of the first president of Drexel, James MacAlister. UR
7.2 indicates the records of Drexel football program.
'PC' indicates a Photograph Collection. These are,
simply, collections consisting only of photographs. Please note that some
Manuscript and University Records collections may contain photographs. See each
collection's documentation for more details.