The Sir Thomas Wyse Archives Essay

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When considering collections for use as a researcher, online finding aids are a valuable tool for assessing the material for use. Important qualities of a finding aid include description of the material, ease of use and format of the aid itself. The Sir Thomas Wyse Archives, 1816- ca. 1942 at the University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript Library is a finding aid that has both strengths and weaknesses for a researcher. At first glance, the Sir Thomas Wyse Archives’ online finding aid appears tedious and not engaging. Scrolling through the finding aid, there are no breaks in the text or anything of visual appeal. Clicking on the menu links to the left merely hops you through the blocks of text without bringing up another page or any …show more content…
As a researcher familiar with the topic this would be less of a hindrance but additional information would be beneficial, and it would be helpful to know more about the acquisition and other administrative information. Despite the format of the container listing, the scope of it is pretty thorough. Listed by box, item level descriptions are given for each item. The placement of the item number is distracting as it has nothing to do with the material and would be better suited somewhere else in the description to enhance the scan ability of the aid. Such as in the spot of the second item number, which is not the same as the first one—a confusing oddity in the finding aid with no apparent explanation. The date and type of the material is readily apparent, and a short but seemingly thorough explanation of the item is present for all items. The only detraction from the description is the strangely out of place interpretations in the description such as the one for Item #92000 which describes an item describing Limerick and states “a condition which still exists.” Another example is of Item #8000 which describes and account as “sour and disillusioned.” These descriptions are distracting, provide information that as a researcher would be more appropriate for one’s own evaluation, and are more than what is required in a

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