Does The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and
Manuscript Library accept donations?
Gladly! We are particularly interested in receiving historically significant
collections, especially those that document the literary, social, cultural, economic,
political, or legal history of Mobile, this region, or the University. Material that does
not fit into our collecting policy will not be accepted but we will make every effort to
help you locate a suitable repository. If you are interested in donating to us, please
call 251.434.3800, fax 251.434.3622, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To expedite matters, please download, fill out our donation
form, and bring it with you when you bring your materials.
What is a Finding Aid?
A finding aid is a document designed to assist patrons who wish to use a manuscript
collection for research. Finding aids give a researcher a glimpse into a collection.
Typically, they describe various attributes of a collection (more about that below).
Researchers use finding aids to help them better understand the contents of a collection
and how it is organized. Researchers should keep in mind that the finding aid is not part
of the collection; it merely describes the collection. In addition, the finding aid does
not contain actual materials from the collection.
Like the collections they describe, finding aid
size varies greatly. The ones posted here can range from one page to several hundred.
Although The McCall Library has recently strived to produce uniform finding aids, the ones
found on our web site have been created by many people over the years and are posted here
in different forms. All of our finding aids were created as text documents and then posted
to our site using HTML.
As mentioned above, finding aids at The McCall
Library offer a varied amount of information. The most recent ones, however, give at the
minimum the following facts about each collection:
Usually includes the creator of the collection although it may include the compiler of the
collection rather than a creater. Typically, if the material is related to a business or
organization the collection will be called the Acme Records; if they are the papers of an
individual, then the collection will be called the Mary Smith Papers. If, however, the
collection contains only one type of material such as correspondence or scrapbooks, then
the collection will be called the Mary Smith Scrapbooks or Mary Smith Letters.
The creator of a collection might be an individual, family, civic organization, business,
or other entities. In addition, an individual or organization may have gathered materials
created by someone else.
Manuscript collection number:
The McCall Libray assigns each manuscript collection a unique identifier.
Extent or size of the collection:
Size of a collection is usually expressed in cubic feet, unless the collection is quite
small, then it's size is described on the item level. For example, we might describe the
size of a small collection of letters as "12 items".
Biographical or Organizational History:
Usually presented in narrative form, this section of the finding aid provides background
information about the creator or creating agency. When possible, the creator's complete
biography is included. The biographical or organizational history may include information
found in the collection as well as published sources.
Scope and Contents Note:
Describes the contents of the collection and should give the reader an idea of the kinds
of materials in the collection. The scope and contents note should highlight the strengths
and/or weaknesses of a collection.
Access to some collections may be restricted either by donor request or so that the
institution may adhere to privacy laws protecting, for example, personal medical history.
The official title, including the library and university name, patrons should use when
referencing the collection in a published work.
The heart of the finding aid. It lists the box, folder number, and folder titles for the