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A computerized finding aid for the Arnold Papers held in the archives of Rugby School

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posted on 20.09.2012, 13:30 authored by Martyn F. Brawn
This dissertation is concerned with the provision of a computerized finding aid for the Arnold Papers held within the archives of Rugby School. The first chapter provides a brief overview of the school and the life and times of Dr Arnold. The objectives outlined in this chapter are the production of a useful and usable computerized finding aid which will provide an infrastructure to enable the description of the Rugby School archives to be expanded to other collections. Chapter two is a review of the nature and theory of archival description as described through the writings of respected authorities in the field. Such concepts as moral defence of archives, arrangement, description and indexing are discussed. The third chapter builds on the discussion in the previous chapter in terms of the actual circumstances prevailing in this project. The chapter deals with the practical application of the general principles of archival description to a specific collection. The inherited arrangement of the Arnold Papers is discussed along with the methodology employed for the data gathering, data analysis, description and indexing of the holdings. A fourth chapter deals with the peculiarities of computerizing the finding aid, explaining the points of departure between traditional, paper-based, description techniques and those of electronic representation of the collection in a computer database. The software used for the project is evaluated in terms of the concepts discussed in chapters two and three. The development of the finding aid follows, in chapter five, with the functional and technical specifications for the functionality of the finding aid and an explanation of the database design process. A section on using the finding aid for retrieving information from the collection is included in this chapter, supported by examples illustrated by screen-prints from the database itself. The dissertation is concluded by a sixth chapter which pulls together the problems encountered during the project, its successes and innovations, and recommendations for future action in terms of expanding the Rugby School arehival description project by means of the framework afforded by the Arnold Papers database.



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© Martyn F. Brawn

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A Master's Dissertation, submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree of Loughborough University.



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