Learn more about Finding Aids
The Tufts Digital Library contains documents called
"finding aids" that describe the contents of archival
collections in order to assist researchers in
understanding our materials. Only some of DCA's holdings
are available digitally; in those cases, the finding aid
will link to the digital material. But the finding aids
also describe the archival materials which are not
available via the web, so researchers can better
determine if materials in our collections will be useful
Most of our collection guides contain the following
- This section of the collection guide includes
general information about the collection, including
the title, the call number used to identify it a DCA,
the size of the collection (quantity of physical and
digital materials), a brief introduction to the
creator as well as links to lengthier biographies or
histories of the creators, and a summary description
of what the collection contains.
- The contents provides a summary of the contents of
the collection. This section may also include
comments on the arrangement of the collection and the
kinds of materials (such as correspondence or
diaries) that may found in it.
- Series Description
- This section provides a description of the made
arrangements of the materials in the collection as
well as links to more detailed descriptions and
- Names and Description
- Subject headings, such as those found in a library
catalog, are provided for each collection.
- Related Collections
- Links to other collections which a researcher might
find of interest.
- Access and Use
- This section contains information regarding
restrictions on using the collection and any
important copyright information.
- Administrative Notes
- This section contains information regarding the
acquisition and processing of the collection, as well
as various other notes that may be of interest to
those who want to use the collection to conduct
- Detailed Contents List
- Once you have entered a Series Description
section, you will have access to a detailed listing
of the contents of the collection. In most collection
guides, the detailed description will follow a
general order of: subgroup, series, and folder. The
box and folder number (which appear on the left-hand
side of the screen) are used to locate the materials.
If materials are available online they will be linked
from the detailed contents list. Note that not every
item in the archives is described individually. For
many collections, we simply have a description of the
folder (e.g. "Correspondence and Reports, 1958-59"),
rather than a listing of every item in that folder.
Although this section contains the actual inventory
to the contents of the collection, it is important to
read the front matter, too--especially the Historical
Note, Content Description, and Arrangement--to
understand the context of the items.