Dear All,  

We have similarly large EAD finding aids, which do sometimes cause a
problem for researchers and staff who "land" in the middle of them.  Some of
them are box/folder headings; box/reel; box/folder #.   Some are box/folder
with reel/frame references in the folder headings, also in <physdesc> 

To further complicate matters, many of our collections are housed in cubic
foot cartons, making some of the folder lists particularly looooong. 
But whatever the chosen container....I certainly can't think of a solution,
short of two different finding aids - long version, short version! 

For example, check out: or 

These two examples, however, include series arranged alphabetically, thus,
enhancing the access points.  It is much more problematic for collections
having chronologically arranged series, with supporting appendices, as in: 

These are the ones that users tend to get "lost" in.  

The PDF file sounds interesting, but would it really solve the problem?? 

Barbara Aikens
Chief, Collections Processing
Archives of American Art
Smithsonian Institution
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>>> [log in to unmask] 08/17/06 11:20PM >>>
Jennie, hi -

I urge you to put together a MARAC session called "Elegant and Seamless" 
  - make it a discussion session with some invited leaders to guide 
brainstorming over issues of length, hierarchies, stylesheets, 
navigation, etc.  We all share the pain of large collections and complex 
finding aids. :-)

Rebecca  (reading from home where I dare not open your Agnew file)

Jennie A. Levine wrote:
> Michele,
> I would be interested in responses to this as well, just as a point of 
> discussion.
> 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