University of Miami Archival Collections


Finding Aids & Inventories

Finding aids are tools designed to help researchers understand manuscript and archival collections. They describe the historical context, content, creator(s), materials, and organization of collections.

The University of Miami’s finding aids are generally organized to include the following information:


  • Overview: the name, size and a brief description of the collection.

  • Administrative Information: acquisition, access, and use information.

  • Biographical or Historical Note: narrative description of the biography or history of the individual or organizational creator of the collection.

  • Scope and Content Note: An overview of the contents and formats of a collection.

  • Series Descriptions: brief descriptions providing an overview of the overall intellectual arrangement of a collection.

  • Container List: a list showing the physical arrangement of the contents of a collection in boxes and folders.

  • Index Terms: a list of the people, organizations, and subjects that are significantly represented or documented in a collection.

Inventories include only a listing of the contents of a collection’s containers.