What are finding aids?

Archival materials are organized differently than items found in a library. While books in a library are often individually cataloged with a label and specific call number, archives are much more complex and individual documents aren’t usually inventoried. Researchers use finding aids to navigate archival collections. Finding aids can vary widely but they often describe collections at varying levels of detail, which means researchers must request boxes or folders and then examine individual items to find what they need.