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Revisiting the archival finding aid

Cox, RJ (2007) Revisiting the archival finding aid. Journal of Archival Organization, 5 (4). 5 - 32. ISSN 1533-2748

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Archivists have been creating finding aids for generations, and in the last three decades they have done this work via a succession of standardized formats. However, like many other disciplines, they have carried out such work in violation of systems analysis. Although purporting to have the users of finding aids systems first and foremost in their mind, archivists have carried out their descriptive work apart from and with little knowledge of how researchers find and use archival sources. In this article, questions are raised about the utility of archival finding aids and how they will stand the test of time. Indeed, archivists, purportedly concerned with considering how records function and will be used over time, ought to apply the same kind of analysis and thinking to their finding aids. In this article, we explore three ways archival finding aids might be examined by outsiders, namely, those concerned with museum exhibitions, design experts, and accountability advocates. Doing this should assist archivists to reevaluate their next wave of experimentation with descriptive standards and the construction of finding aids. Archivists should expand the notion of what we are representing in archival representation. © 2007 by The Haworth Press.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cox, RJrjcox@pitt.eduRJCOX
Date: 1 December 2007
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Archival Organization
Volume: 5
Number: 4
Page Range: 5 - 32
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1080/15332740802153245
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1533-2748
Date Deposited: 27 May 2009 22:52
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:55


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