Archival materials are grouped into “collections” or “record groups” named for the person, organization, or office that created or compiled the materials. (This differs from books in a library, which are grouped with other books on the same subject.)

You usually cannot browse archival collections the way you can browse books in a library. Therefore, you must rely on a Collection Guide--also known as a Finding Aid--to find out about archival collections.

The information provided in a Collection Guide will enable you to identify materials that may be relevant to your research, give you some background information about them, and help you plan your research visit.

A Collection Guide: