Hagley Museum and Library is pleased to announce the launch of a new database of research finding aids — a new way to assist researchers in finding primary source materials. Powered by the open source application, eXtensible Text Framework (XTF), the database allows researchers to conduct full-text searching of collection finding aids and browse both alphabetically by collection title and collection creator. This quick search tool not only makes Hagley Library’s collections more accessible for off-site users but enables all researchers to target collections that are most relevant to their areas of interest.
The staff of the Hagley Library have created finding aids for more than 150 collections in both the Manuscripts and Archives and Pictorial Departments, a number that will grow extensively as we continue to build this online resource. Finding aids identify, describe, and list collection contents. Although these collections are recorded in our online library catalog, our finding aids provide a more detailed inventory of their contents. Most finding aids also contain information about the person or organization who created the collection. Typically, these guides do not describe individual items like a catalog does. Instead, finding aids describe groupings of materials such as the contents of a folder or a box as well as the organizational context in which these materials are stored.
The finding aids in our new database consist of the papers of business firms as well as the personal papers of the entrepreneurs, inventors, designers, and managers who helped build these businesses. They provide significant documentation of the unfolding history of American enterprise through papers, printed material, electronic records, photographs, sound recordings, film, artifacts, and oral histories. The collections document the interaction between business and the cultural, social, and political dimensions of our society from the late 18th century to the present. Though a huge undertaking, developing the database is just one step in Hagley Library’s ongoing efforts to make its collections more accessible to the public.
The Digital Collections Department owes many thanks to its team of full-time (Kevin Martin, Abby Adams) and part-time staff (Karla Irwin) in addition to the following on-site and distance volunteers: Sarah Leu, Sarah Sherman, Marrette Pearsall, Annalise Berdini, Alex Miller, Skylar Harris, Mandy Sutton, and Mary Alice Cicerale.
To explore Hagley Library’s new collections database, please visit http://findingaids.hagley.org
Abby Adams is the Assistant Curator of Digital Collections at Hagley Library