University Archives

Finding aids: Tools for locating historical materials in the University Archives

Finding aids are indexes to archival and manuscript collections. A finding aid can be as simple as a list of folders. More complex finding aids place materials in context by consolidating information about the collection, for example a historical or biographical note or a description of how the collection has been arranged.

The staff of the University Archives have been creating finding aids for several years to describe the many collections of historic manuscripts and papers available at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The finding aids are very detailed, listing items at the box and folder level, and often individual items within folders. Viewing the finding aids allows researchers to locate primary source materials such as historical documents, personal papers, business records, case histories, photographs, etc., related to their research interest. The archive’s finding aids have been xml encoded using the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format to allow searching and display via the Internet.

The finding aids may be viewed online and searched  through two different sources:

• The Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) website at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ is produced by the University of Texas Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. It is a repository for finding aids from archival, manuscript, and museum collections in repositories across Texas available to the public. It is updated weekly and currently lists all 23 finding aids developed for the University Archives. Researchers may browse finding aids from specific repositories or search across all repository finding aids by title, subject, name, place or format or media.

• The History of Medicine Finding Aids Consortium website developed by the National Library of Medicine at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/consortium/index.html indexes over 3,600 finding aids from 35 institutions throughout the United States that collect broadly in the area of the history of medicine and its allied sciences as well as more general special collections and archives. It is keyword searchable and is updated periodically, usually quarterly, so it may not have the most recent finding aids listed.

A list of finding aids completed for the University Archives and available online can be found here: UT Health Science Center- University Archives- Finding Aids

These finding aids represent only a portion of the many materials available in the University Archives, and work continues to make the other collections more accessible to researchers.

For more information on the University Archives and materials listed in the finding aids, contact Anne Comeaux, Assistant Director for Special Collections, at comeaux@uthscsa.edu or Mellisa DeThorne, Library Archival Assistant, at dethorne@uthscsa.edu or call the University Archives at 210-567-2470.

University Archives agrees to house the papers of the Texas Neural Tube Defects Project

Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Birth Defect Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch recently contacted The University Archives  about housing the papers of the Texas Neural Tube Defects(NTD) Project.  This project investigated a cluster of three babies with anencephaly that were born at a Brownsville, Texas hospital within 36 hours of each other in 1991.  An 8-year federally-funded project investigated the risk factors for neural tube defects and provided counseling and folic acid supplements to mothers to help prevent recurrent NTD cases. Members of the faculty of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio played key roles in this study, which may be of interest to current researchers or graduate students working in the area of neural tube defects.

Papers of the Texas Neural Tube Defects Project that are stored in the University Archives include reports, statistical analyses, journal and newspaper articles, training materials, and correspondence with researchers regarding findings.  View the finding aid listing the papers.

Individuals who are interested in examining these materials should contact Anne Comeaux (comeaux@uthscsa.edu; 210-567-2428) or Mellisa DeThorne (dethorne@uthscsa.edu; 210-567-2470).