ERIC Number: ED345724
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Jun-6
Reference Count: N/A
Findings Aids--Records--Computers: One Archivist's Search for User-Friendly Reference.
VanDereedt, Angie S.
This paper examines some of the finding aids (e.g., information that provides insight into a group of records in an archival collection) currently used or being developed by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). It explores their practicality and whether and how they can be improved. In addition, the paper analyzes the factors that make it appropriate for NARA to develop computerized finding aids below the series level and for multiples series using word processing or database software. The records used for this study are the master abstracts of certificates of enrollment, certificates of registry, and licenses for merchant vessels that are used to compile vessel histories, as well as the files containing vessel histories developed by the archives staff; the indexes to abstracts of nineteenth century seamen's protection certificates; indexes to missing air crew reports; records of appointments to federal offices; the microfilm publications of the Decimal File of the Department of State; and a list of postmasters. It is concluded that there are many records in the National Archives that could be better utilized if finding aids were put in another format (such as a computerized format) or rearranged in a manner that would address a majority of the requests. Three appended flowcharts identify the decision-making processes of deciding whether to: (1) create or improve finding aids; (2) computerize finding aids; and (3) create new finding aids. (16 references) (MAB)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A