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Introduction to Primary Source Research: How to use finding aids/collection guides

Basic information on doing research using primary sources

Tips on using finding aids/collection guides

Finding Aids/Collection Guides contain descriptive information about collections. They will either provide an overview of the contents of each box or a list of folder titles.

Start by reviewing the scope and content note and biographical information. They wll help you determine if the collection contains relevant information.

Folder titles can be general so it is important to review the scope and content notes at the series level if they exist.

Although you can search within most online versions of finding aids, browsing is highly recommended so you don't miss anything.

Elements of a finding aid

Here are the key components of a finding aid:

Biography - basic information about the creator(s) of the collection

 

Biographical Note from finding aid to Anne Henrietta Martin Papers

 

Scope and Content - a summary of what is included in the collection

 

Scope and Content Note from finding aid to Anne Henrietta Martin Papers

 

Related collections - other collections that might be of interest

 

List of related collections from finding aid to Anne Henrietta Martin papers

 

Physical Description/Extent - how big it is

 

Screenshot of finding aid showing physical description or extent note

 

 

Boost California Raisin Day, April 30th.

Poster advertising California Raisin Day

Boost California Raisin Day Poster  Ca.1911-1915

https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013m4r8g

 

 

Online Archive of California

The Online Archive of California (OAC) provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.