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Finding Aid Aggregation at a Crossroads

April 2020

Published onApr 30, 2020
Finding Aid Aggregation at a Crossroads

Allison-Bunnell, Jodi. Finding Aid Aggregation at a Crossroads   (May, 2019)(https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5sp13112). - One advantage of the current coronavirus lockdown is that it provides time to revisit interesting projects that had slipped through the cracks. The "Toward a National Archival Finding Aid Network" planning initiative is one such project. Archival discovery has traditionally been built around collection finding aids, and for over two decades archivists have sought to increase access to and use of archival collections by aggregating finding aids into shared discovery systems. Allison-Bunnell's report surveys the current state of archival aggregation and identifies what the aggregators themselves identify as the existing weaknesses. The problems are many, but include a tension between the item-level description that is found in digital collections but which is missing from most finding aids, the lack of understanding of what users want, the problem of geographic and descriptive information "silos" that make discovery hard, and an existing technical infrastructure that needs to be replaced. A way forward has been proposed in an action plan published in October 2019. - PH

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