Finding Aids Moving to Archives West


This spring, Special Collections will transition its findings aids from our locally-hosted XTF site to Archives West, formerly known as Northwest Digital Archives.

Archives West, a program offering of the Orbis Cascade Alliance since 2007, provides access to descriptions of primary sources in the western United States, including correspondence, diaries or photographs. Institutions in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and Utah have loaded descriptions (finding aids) of their collections to Archives West.  In some cases, digital reproductions of the materials are linked directly from the finding aids.

A finding aid is a detailed guide or inventory of the contents of a manuscript or archival collection. The guide provides a gateway to the collection because it allows researchers to identify the boxes or folders they will need for their research. A typical guide also provide biographical or historical information on the person or organization that created the material, an overview of the collection, and how it is arranged plus a detailed container list and any use restrictions.

What will Archives West add to the user experience?

  • It provides access to all of our finding aids.  Our old site is no longer being updated, so use Archives West to find the most current descriptions of our collections.
  • It allows searches across regional repositories. You are likely to find related collections held by other repositories in the Northwest.
  • It creates an updated search environment that will more readily display digitized content and enhance our collection descriptions with more search terms.

What can you expect in the coming months?

  • We invite our researchers to try the new site now.
  • A cut-off date for the current XTF site this summer (date to be announced).

Take the Archives West User Survey to win an Amazon gift card!

Archives West is conducting a two-part assessment of the recent redesign until April 15, 2016. They are looking for people who use Archives West to fill out a survey and to potentially answer some follow-up questions on how successful the redesign of the site is. If you are interested in being part of this effort, please go to A  few individuals will be selected for follow-up questions – those selected will receive $10 gift cards.




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