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The Collation

Introducing our new finding aids website

We are pleased to announce our new site! We invite you to explore the site and send any feedback to

The new site may look familiar to anyone who has visited other repositories with manuscript collections and archives, since it is built on a platform called ArchivesSpace that is widely used in the field.

The new site contains all the information from the previous site, with some additional functionality. The new search functionality is an improvement. Advanced searches can be done right from the main page on the site: enter your initial search criteria and then click on ‘Add row’ to add more search criteria.

Screenshot of focused on the search box, search field drop-down menu, search refinement by date, and an option to add another row for more search criteria
Searches can be refined by searching particular fields and date ranges

It is still possible to browse the list of finding aids, by clicking on ‘Collections’ in the horizontal menu bar. While browsing, there are additional options for filtering results by years, subjects, and languages. It’s also possible to change the sort order.

There are two additional ways to browse, by Subjects and by Names. These also appear in the horizontal menu bar, and there are options for changing the sort order.

Once you have opened a finding aid, such as the Papers of the Bagot family of Blithfield, Staffordshire,  there are a few different ways to navigate the page. First and foremost, if you are the sort of person – as I often am – who prefers to read a finding aid as a single document, you are in luck. There is a ‘print’ icon in the upper right corner of the page. When you click on that, a PDF copy of the finding aid is created and it can be downloaded or printed on paper. This is very handy when you want to annotate a copy of the finding aid. There is also a ‘citation’ button, which will generate a citation for the collection you are viewing.

Screenshot of featuring the citation button for generating a citation and the print button for generating a PDF copy of the finding aid
The print and citation buttons appear in the upper right side of the finding aid

Below the title of the collection, the page is divided into two uneven columns. On the left is the ‘Collection Overview’. This contains textual information about the collection, such as the Scope and Content note, the Dates of materials in the collection, a Biographical note, etc. On the right is the ‘Collection organization’. The right column is usually too narrow for browsing the inventory of the collection. This narrow right column is just one option for browsing the inventory.

Screenshot of focused on the finding aid title and the buttons immediately beneath it that take the viewer to the 'Collection Overview' or 'Collection Organization'
Finding aid title and buttons for navigating to the Collection Overview or Collection Organization

Immediately under the title for the collection, there is a two-part button for ‘Collection Overview’ and ‘Collection Organization’. If you click on ‘Collection Organization’, the collection inventory will open in the wider right-hand column, and it will appear in a format that is better suited for reading.

That’s it for the introductory tour of the new site. In addition to what is viewable by the public, the platform has additional staff-only features for helping us manage our collections. We’re especially excited about implementing features that will make it even easier for readers to request these items for viewing in the reading room. Those features will be enabled closer to our reopening. We hope you enjoy the new site!