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A Study on Development and Prospects of Archival Finding Aids

  • The Korean Journal of Archival Studies
  • 2010, (23), pp.3-43
  • Publisher : Korean Society Of Archival Studies
  • Research Area : Interdisciplinary Studies > Library and Information Science

Seol, Moon-won 1

1부산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Finding aids are tools which facilitate to locate and understand archives and records. Traditionally there are two types of archival finding aids: vertical and horizontal. Vertical finding aids such as inventories have multi-level descriptions based on provenance, while horizontal ones such as catalogs and index are tools to guide to the vertical finding aids based on the subject. In the web environment, traditional finding aids are evolving into more dynamic forms. Respecting the principles of provenance and original order, vertical finding aids are changing to multi-entity structures with development of ISAD(G), ISAAR(CPF) and ISDF as standards for describing each entity. However, vertical finding aids can be too difficult, complicated, and boring for many users, who are accustomed to the easy and exciting searching tools in the internet world. Complementing them, new types of finding aids are appearing to provide easy, interesting, and extensive access channels. This study investigates the development and limitation of vertical finding aids, and the recent trend of evolving new finding aids complementing the vertical ones. The study finds three new trends of finding aid development. They are (i) mixture, (ii) integration, and (iii) openness. In recent days, certain finding aids are mixed with stories and others provide integrated searches for the collections of various heritage institutions. There are cases for experimenting user participation in the development of finding aids using Web 2.0 applications. These new types of finding aids can also cause some problems such as decontextualised description and prejudices, especially in the case of mixed finding aids and quality control of user contributed annotations and comments. To solve these problems, the present paper suggests to strengthen the infrastructure of vertical finding aids and to connect them with various new ones and to facilitate interactions with users of finding aids. It is hoped that the present paper will provide impetus for archives including the National Archives of Korea to set up and evaluate the development strategies for archival finding aids.

Citation status

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