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Primary Source Research and Discovery

An introduction to primary source research

What is a Finding Aid?

A finding aid is a document that provides descriptive information about archival collections and their contents. Researchers use finding aids to:

  • Help determine if a collection has material that is relevant to their research needs
  • Facilitate discovery of archival material and primary sources
  • Gain access to and understand materials within a collection

This guide will provide details about how a finding aid is organized, where you can locate CSUDH Gerth Archives and Special Collections finding aids, and will answer some commonly asked questions when reading a finding aid. Download a sample finding aid below.