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National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the U. S.

Location: Microfiche Cabinets 55-56


This collection, divided into four parts,  includes detailed descriptions of the finding aids, registers, indexes, and collection guides available for collections of manuscripts and documentary sources in the United States.  Typical finding aids can contain: a general description of the collection listing its size, chronological coverage, and general contents; a history or biography of the subject of the collection; use restrictions; provenance; calendar of events; detailed description of the contents of the collection; and a subject index. The primary value of NIDS is to maximize the efficiency of a scholar’s search for and evaluation of primary sources.

Part 1: Federal Records

Part 1 includes contents of the more than 400 record groups of the National Archives. It contains finding aids to collections of papers in all seven Presidential Libraries: Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford. In addition it includes finding aids to the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, providing access to the United States’ foremost collection of scientific archives.

Part 2: Manuscript Division, Library Congress

Part 2  includes registers to almost 800 collections in the manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.

Part 3: State Archives, Libraries and Historical Societies

Part 3 contains detailed listings of the contents of the two most important sources on U.S. social and political and regional history.

Part 4: Academic Libraries and Other Repositories

Part 4 includes finding aids to nearly 100 repositories, large and small throughout the US. Included are contributors such as Harvard, UCLA, University of California-Berkeley, University of Michigan and University of Illinois.

Finding aids included are from all academic libraries, state libraries, state archives, historical societies, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Presidential Libraries, the Smithsonian Institution, and others.

How to search the collection

The first part of each index is a list of those finding aids which are reproduced on microfiche, arranged by the name of the repository in alphabetical order (moving down through the rows of microfiche-not across left to right). The second part of the index is the names and subject index. Against each name or subject term there is a number which represents a finding aid. The finding aids are listed in numerical order in the first part of the index. The description of each finding aid includes the identification number of the microfiche on which it is reproduced. The microfiche title strip consists of three parts. The first, ‘1’, refers to the first part of the National Inventory. The second part is the number allotted to the repository. The third part is the number allotted to the finding aid.