I would be interested in responses to this as well, just as a point of 

We've had several similar scenarios and dealt with each one differently. 
We have one collection where we try to show both box and reel locations 
by putting the reels and frames in the <physdesc> tag in the <c02> and 
<c03> levels as appropriate.  I don't know how "right" that is, but that 
worked with our style sheet.  The Guide to the Papers of Djuna Barnes 
has about 2200 "rows"

(for example)

I do think that is difficult to read on a screen, or even on a printout, 
and not lose your place. We are working on revising our style sheets to 
be more hierarchical in display to "solve" this problem (it's pretty 
cool so far, actually, and I hope we'll be able to show people live in a 
month or so - it's similar to the James Madison Carpenter Finding Aid 
found here -, and 
maybe change the print versions to list things like Series and Subseries 
next to each item so that people can tell quickly where they are.

Our Papers of Spiro T. Agnew guide is over 12,000 "rows" (only open if 
you are certain of your browser stability and Internet connection...)

Series III, Subseries 5, which is even difficult to navigate to in our 
current stylesheet, is a PDF, just to try to keep the finding aid from 
crashing people's browsers.  (You can do a "find" for "Subseries 3.5: to 
find the link).

I really dislike the way we had to handle this - it just feels awkward 
to me. It wasn't too hard to make the PDF since all of our EAD data is 
in database form, but still it was an extra step I'd like to avoid! And 
I have seen other posts on this listserv with questions about elegant 
and seamless ways to break up finding aids and am not sure if anyone 
came up with any answers? If they did, I'd love to know!

So, I don't have any answers - but I share your pain and am interested 
in solutions people might have.


Jennie A. Levine
Curator for Historical Manuscripts
Archives and Manuscripts Department
Hornbake Library
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
(301)314-2709 FAX
[log in to unmask]

Michele Rothenberger wrote:
> Hello Collective Wisdom --
> We have a collection of government archives on 157 microfilm reels.
> Each reel has anywhere from 10-30 documents on it.  The paper finding
> aid is nearly 500 pages and contains seven top-level divisions (e.g.,
> "Secretariat reports").  Within each division, the guide lists each reel
> and within each reel it lists each document, with dates, page count, and
> a brief description.  The paper guide also includes a subject index; a
> person and organization index; and a province index. Our goal is for
> researchers to be able to find the information they need and request it
> by reel and document number.
> A full conversion of the paper finding aid to EAD would have some 3200+
> items, nearly all at the c03 level.  Our thought is that scrolling
> through 3000+ items on-screen is not the most user-friendly of
> approaches, so we are considering creating the finding aid down to a
> middling intellectual level and then linking out to pdf's for the
> remaining levels as pdf's are easier to read and to print (and to
> search).  It could be broken into separate documents, of course, perhaps
> one per series, but that would mean treating it differently from all our
> other finding aids which is not ideal either, and still makes a couple
> of the documents very very long.
> Then there is the question of the indexes.  The indexes give reel and
> document number(s) as the locator(s) for each term, but the term itself
> (for example, "Smith, John") often does not appear in the text of the
> finding aid, so any linking from the index to the body of the inventory
> would, at best, go to a document description or (one level higher) to a
> reel description.
> If anyone has dealt with a similar collection or issues in terms of
> size or multiple indexes or deciding whether or not to link from indexes
> or combining EAD with pdfs, I would appreciate any lessons learned or
> thoughts on the best way to approach this.  (We're also going to consult
> one or two researchers who have used the paper-based finding aid to see
> how they approach it.)
> Thanks --
> Michele
> -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-
> Michele Rothenberger
> Manuscripts Processor
> Special Collections Research Center
> Syracuse University Library
> 222 Waverly Avenue
> Syracuse, NY 13244
> (315) 443-2697
> -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-