Finding Aids Overview
What are Finding Aids?
Finding Aids are research tools that help you navigate through descriptions of
archival records. They are similar to a library catalogue entry, which
describes a single book, except that they often convey complex information
about the structure of a group of records. Rather than just a single entry,
they summarize information in a hierarchical way—from general to
What information is in the KHS Finding Aids?
The structure of the Finding Aid is dictated by a set of rules known as General
International Standard Archival Description. Therefore, in the KHS’s
Finding Aids, descriptions for the highest levels include:
- title—the name of the records creator and the nature of the group
- dates—the date span of the material
- level of description—placement of the group being described within the
- extent and medium—quantity and type of documents
- context—brief history of the function and office of origin/person
- content and structure—notes about the kinds of documents and the way
they are organized
- conditions of access and use—indication of any access restrictions
- associated material—notes on related records
How are the Finding Aids organized?
The descriptions in a Finding Aid start with a high-level overview of the group
of records (called fonds or collections).
Some additional definitions may be useful for understanding the Finding Aid:
- b&w—black and white, used to describe a photograph
- collection—an artificial accumulation of documents of any provenance
brought together on the basis of some common characteristic
- fonds—all of the documents created, accumulated and used by one
individual or organization in the course of their activities or functions
- series—documents within a fonds grouped together because they relate to
the same function or subject, result from the same activity, or have a
Can I download and use the Finding Aids?
Yes. You may download or print a copy of a Finding Aid for personal use and
consultation. Any republication requires the permission of the Kauai Historical
Is there a Finding Aid for every document held in the Kauai Historical Society Archives?
Not yet. Finding Aids are produced as groups of documents are processed by KHS
archivists, which is an on-going process.
Can I see the actual historical documents on this website?
No. Finding Aids are text-only descriptions of the collection. However, you may
order copies of specific documents. See the next question for more information.
Can I order copies of the historical documents?
Yes. You may request photocopies of specific documents. Detailed information on
copying services is available upon request. Place an order »
Can I quote from the historical documents?
KHS requires that researchers seeking permission to publish request permission
to quote from any records in its collection; all direct quotations should be
credited to the Kauai Historical Society. Although the records are in the
custody of the KHS, the intellectual property may reside with other
institutions and the responsibility for determining the status of those rights
and for securing permission to quote remains with the researchers.
Can I gain access to the actual archives?
Access to the archives for research purposes is available by appointment only.
Access fee is $30 per visit. Please call (808) 245-3373 or email us. Free access to
the archives is one of the privileges of membership of the Kaua‘i
Historical Society. See Support KHS for