The Library of Congress >> Librarians & Archivists' Home   
Archival Description: Library Functions
Links: EAD Maintenance Agency - EAD Finding Aids
National Union Catalog for Manuscript Collections (NUCMC)
Library of Congress Online Catalog
[Image of the Library of Congress  Great Hall]

Archival description encompasses the dual processes of cataloging and production of finding aids.

Archival Finding Aids

Archival finding aids are detailed guides to primary source material which provide fuller information than that normally contained within cataloging records. The Library of Congress produces archival descriptions of manuscripts in the Manuscript Division and the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), Special Materials Cataloging Division.

Manuscript Finding Aids

The Manuscript Division has prepared more than 1,600 registers for its collections. Most include information on the provenance and administration of the collection, an organizational or biographical history or chronology, a scope and content note, a description of the various series or groups of manuscripts in the collection, and a container list. The container list normally describes the contents of each container by folder title. Manuscript Division finding aids are now being converted for use on the web. To date, only a small percentage of the total has been made available in electronic format.

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections

The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) Program, provides free-of-charge cataloging of archives and manuscript material to qualifying repositories and provides information concerning access to all NUCMC cataloging since its beginnings in 1959.

The Library of Congress >> Librarians & Archivists' Home
March 12, 2008
Contact Us

Catalog Records

Catalog records provide access
to manuscript collections
through the same search
strategies that are used
for other materials in the
Library of Congress
Online Catalog

Encoded Archival Description

The Library, in partnership
with the Society of American
Archivists, is the maintenance
agency for the Encoded Archival Description
, a standard
for encoding archival
finding aids using the
Standard Generalized Markup
Language (SGML).