Special Collections and Archives blog

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What is Arizona Archives Online (AAO)?

Arizona Archives Online brings together detailed descriptions of archival material about the history of Arizona and other subjects. The archival collections described in AAO are held at institutions across the state including academic libraries, historical institutions, special collections libraries, museums and other libraries and archives in Arizona.

There are currently 12 institutions throughout the state of Arizona that contribute content to Arizona Archives Online:

  • Arizona State University Libraries, Department of Archives and Special Collections
  • Northern Arizona University, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives
  • University of Arizona Library Special Collections
  • University of Arizona Libraries. Center for Creative Photography.
  • Arizona State MuseumMuseum of Northern Arizona
  • The Arizona Historical Society: Northern Division
  • Sharlot Hall Museum
  • Arizona State Library, History and Archives Division
  • Lowell Observatory Library and Archives
  • Heard Museum Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives
  • Peggy J. Slusser Memorial Philatelic Library


What is Archival Description?

Archival description is the practice of describing and sometimes indexing the content of archival documents or archival collections. Products of archival description include library catalog records, repository guides, collection guides (often known as finding aids), websites and specialized databases. Arizona Archives Online is a website that contains searchable finding aids.

What is in a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of a collection of archival materials. It describes who created the materials, and when, as well as the type of materials, the topics of the collection, how it is organized and why it is significant. The depth of description of an archival collection contained within a finding aid will vary based on local institutional policies and the discretion of the archivist processing the collection.

Why are the collections in Arizona Archives Online not digitized?

Digitization of content on AAO is left to the discretion of the contributing members to the AAO website. Due to funding, digitization resources, copyright restrictions, and staff time many archival holdings described on AAO are not digitized. Some of the collections described on AAO do have links to digitized content. These digital items can be found either linked to local servers or to other digital instances on the internet. Arizona Archives Online was designed to provide digitized content as it becomes available at the discretion of the contributing members. Contact AAO at todd.welch@nau.edu to inquire as to any future efforts by participating members to digitize specific content.


Other local and national web sites for electronic archival description include:

Arizona Memory Project: http://azmemory.lib.az.us/
Arizona Cultural Inventory Project: http://cip.azlibrary.gov/
Online Archives of California: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/
Northwest Digital Archives: http://nwda.wsulibs.wsu.edu/
Rocky Mountain Online Archive: http://rmoa.unm.edu/
Mountain West Digital Library: http://mwdl.org/
Texas Archival Resources Online: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/
Ohio Link Finding Aid Repository: http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/
North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online: http://www.ncecho.org/
Archives Florida: http://palmm2.fcla.edu/afl/



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