A Finding Aid is a document written by archivists to describe an archival collection. A Finding Aid describes the history of a collection and the arrangement of material, to help a user navigate the contents of the collection and identify material relevant to their research.
Each collection in an archive should have a dedicated Finding Aid. Though the Finding Aid may be an unfamiliar document at first, most Finding Aids followed a regular, shared structure. Once you learn to understand the parts of a Finding Aid, you should be able to navigate the collections of most archival institutions.
A Finding Aid can be divided into two sections:
Front Matter - includes summary information that describes the entire collection as a whole
Inventory - provides an outline that identifies the series, boxes, folders, and items within the collection
See the tabs above to read more about each section of the Finding Aid