The Archival and Manuscript Collections Web Portal presents encoded descriptions of non-circulating archival and manuscript materials in the form of online finding aids. Each finding aid describes the content, historical context, and creation of the materials in a given collection. The finding aids also include detailed information regarding conditions governing access and use, provenance, arrangement, and language of the materials.

Users can access collections described in this portal via keyword search and faceted browse. For more information about using finding aids and use of this portal, please refer to the Help section below.


BROWSING: Faceted browsing, a means of narrowing in on content specific to your research needs, is enabled in this site. The facets are listed in the left-hand panel of the home page. They are: Libraries; Titles; Subjects; Creators (People); Creators (Organizations); and NU School/Category.

To choose a term from within a facet, click on the facet name. This will open that facet’s panel and display the terms within it. From here, click on a faceted term to select it. Selecting a term will apply the term to your search, and results will be displayed on the right. Multiple facets can be selected to narrow your results.

All faceted terms applied to your search will display above the search results on the right. Once you have limited your results by facet(s), only those facets available to the results set will appear on the left for further selection.

Facets can be removed from your search by clicking on the "x" to the right of the term displayed above the search results. You can remove facets individually by using this "x", or click on "Start Over" to remove all limits applied to your search.

SEARCHING: Searching is possible across all finding aids, as well as within a given finding aid. To search across finding aids, use the search box located in the upper left-hand corner. A search term must be entered in order to conduct a search- searching without a term will return no results.

Entering more than one term within the search box will result in an "And" search. In other words, search results will be limited to those finding aids in which all entered terms are present.

To search within a finding aid, click on "Search Inside" from the left-hand navigation panel on a finding aid display page. Type a search term in and press the Return key or Enter key on your keyboard. All instances of the searched term will be highlighted in yellow within the finding aid display. If a term is present within a collapsed container list, the number of hits will be displayed next to the parent series displayed in the container list.

COMBINING SEARCHING AND BROWSING: You may also wish to combine searching and browsing across finding aids in a single query. You can begin and end with either a search term or the selection of a faceted term.

When using search and faceted browse in combination, the terms you search for will be displayed as "Keywords" above your search results.

Although the selection of a faceted term is additive, keyword searches are not. This means that while you can select multiple faceted terms to narrow in your results to particular finding aids, a second keyword search will replace your first keyword search rather than narrow the results of the original search.


Not all archival and manuscript collection descriptions are represented in this portal, as many materials housed in Northwestern's various libraries do not yet have encoded finding aids. Though encoded descriptions are added to this portal daily, users can find additional descriptive finding aids in PDF form via the individual library websites. If you do not see a finding aid, but have reason to think that the Library may hold a collection you are looking for, please contact


Northwestern's Finding Aid Web Portal is a Blacklight discovery system utilizing SOLR indexing and Fedora repository software.

Northwestern uses Archon to generate XML finding aids in Encoded Archival Description (EAD).