The National Archives Catalog

Finding Aid Type

Mandatory Repeatable Data Type Authority Level Available A/V Only Public Element
No Yes Variable Character Length (20) Finding Aid Type List Record Group
File Unit
No Yes

The type of finding aid for the record group, collection, or series being described.

Finding aids are tools that help a user find information in a specific record group, collection, or series of archival materials. Examples of finding aids include published and unpublished inventories, container and folder lists, card catalogs, calendars, indexes, registers, and institutional guides. Formal publications that help a user find information regarding a record group, collection, or series of archival materials are also finding aids.

Finding aids can be created by NARA as well as other Federal agencies, publishers, and private organizations and parties. Finding aids may be accessioned records.

Purpose: Helps users locate finding aids to the record group, collection, or archival materials and identifies the kind of finding aids available.
Relationship: This element is independent, but Finding Aid Note and Finding Aid Source are dependent on it. To have Finding Aid Note or Finding Aid Source, Finding Aid Type must be created.

Choose the correct term from the Finding Aid Type Authority List.

If the finding aid is an electronic database, use "Database" as Finding Aid Type. Clarify the scope, nature, and availability of the database in Finding Aid Note. Do not use "Database" if the database is used primarily to produce a printed or otherwise fixed finding aid, such as a folder list; in that case, use "Folder List." Do not use "Database" for word processing or spreadsheet files.

If "Other" is selected, then explain the type of finding aid further in Finding Aid Note.

If a container list has been entered in Container List, do not include it here.

Do not cite the description system itself as a finding aid. Do not cite the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States as a finding aid.

If Finding Aid Type uses an acronym that is not defined in either Title or Scope and Content Note, define the acronym the first time that it is used in Finding Aid Type. Consult the Abbreviations section for further guidance on other abbreviation topics.

Finding Aid Type - Prelim. Checklist
Finding Aid Source - Office of Naval Records and Library
Finding Aid Type -Index
Finding Aid Note - The finding aid is an alphabetical card index with a name entry for each cartoonist.
Finding Aid Source - Federal Bureau of Investigation
[For software documentation considered a finding aid.]

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