This section of the guide includes links to digital archives, as well as links to places where you can search collection descriptions. If a linked site has descriptions only, it will say "(descriptions only)."
Digital Collections contain digitized versions of original materials such as photographs, letters, diaries, etc. Some digital collections may also provide access to materials that are inherently in digital form such as old websites, email, etc.
Collection Descriptions (aka finding aids) are textual descriptions of collections, their contents, who created the materials, and where the collection is located. "Great Places to Start" (see box, this page) are suggested places to begin a search for collection descriptions.
Most archival materials have searchable descriptions, but only a small percentage of materials are available digitally. While searching digital collections provides immediate access for a few materials, searching collection descriptions finds significantly more materials, but you will need to contact and/or visit the archives to use the materials.
- Digital/digitized collections = immediate virtual access to a little bit
- Descriptions of off-line collections = in-person or archivist-assisted access to a lot