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Finding Aids

What is a finding aid?

The Society of the American Archivist defines a finding aid as a tool that facilitates the discovery of information within a collection of records.

Why are they necessary?

The uniqueness and diversity of archival collections, their complicated provenance, and context, and their often intricate hierarchical structure, all make an effective presentation of archival information on the web a challenge. However, with close attention to design and continual consideration of user understanding, online finding aids offer a solution to the complexity of online archival material.

What you can expect from the ERP finding aids...

Each records group (sometimes referred to as units or collections) has its own finding aid. These units are defined by the natural accumulation of the records. They are meant to serve as a guide to both the physical and digital objects while providing basic information for the researcher. To facilitate accessibility, the ERP finding aids are constructed of hierarchically arranged pages. 

The finding aids begin with a brief "overview" page, which will provide top-level information, such as who created the records within this collection, when were the records created, and most importantly, the historical context. 

Then the user may choose to "view the contents" which describes in detail what comprises each collection series. From here, the user may choose individual items they are interested in viewing by simply clicking on the name of that item. 

For records that have been digitized, finding aids will have a direct link to the digital surrogates labeled as "View Digital Items."

Additional finding aids for items not yet digitized are also provided, and these will direct you to physical records available through the Rockingham County Circuit Court Archive.