A pop-up is technically doable, of course.  But since the very first thing at the top of every EAD finding aid is the title and brief description of the collection, along with the repository name, I'm not sure how that popup with that information could convey it any more clearly.  Also, many users routinely block pop-ups in their browsers since the majority of pop-ups are advertisements.  

Regarding the large finding aids, I know some institutions provide collapsible/expandable TOCs  as well as TOCs that are persistent (i.e. the TOC in the left pane doesn't move when you scroll the body of the finding aid in the right pane).  Both those techniques might help users not get lost.

At the moment, we haven't implemented either of the above techniques, but at the end of every c01 we do have a link "Back to TOC" which at least helps them get back to where they started.  We also display the name of our repository at the top of the finding aid not just as text but as a link, so they can always get from the finding aid to our home page for more information.


Michele Combs
Manuscripts Librarian
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Ave.
Syracuse, NY  13244
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-----Original Message-----
From: Encoded Archival Description List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kathryn L. Staley
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 9:23 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: google search/finding aids

We're having a challenge with cyber patrons coming to our finding aids 
through google searches and being confused as to what they have 
reached.   We also have some very large finding aids (100+ pp.) in which 
researchers loose themselves.  How have other institutions tailored 
their ead style sheets, etc. to be more user-friendly within these contexts.

A colleague (w/o any EAD experience) suggested creating a pop-up window 
with a message similar to "you have accessed the description of a 
manuscript collection, Collection 124. Speculation Land Co. Records" and 
provide an abstract of it.  Has anyone attempted something similar and 
if so, how well did it work?

Thank you,


Kathryn L. Staley 
Archivist, Special Collections
Belk Library and Information Commons
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608
828-262-6724 | 828-262-2553 (fax)