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UHCL Archives and Special Collections

Information on planning research at the UHCL Archives and Special Collections; created by Erin Henry and Matthew M. Peek

Finding Aids and Collections Access

Finding aids can be defined as documents that "archival resources in context by consolidating information about the collection, such as acquisition and processing; provenance; biographical or historical notes; scope of the collection, including size, subjects, media; organization and arrangement; and an inventory of the boxes, folders, and other containers in the collection.* It is intended to preserve information about how the collections were created, used, and originally organized, to help researchers understand the relationship of different parts of archival collections to the other parts.

Currently, completed collection finding aids for UHCL Archives and Special Collections' individual collections are available online in the UHCL Neumann Library's Institutional Repository (IR) as searchable PDF documents. We are working to integrate these finding aids into an integrated catalog system that will make searching them easier down the road. For collecting area-specific finding aids--such as for the Human Space Flight Collection or Clear Lake Area Collection--navigate to the specific collection LibGuides pages linked here through the tab "UHCL Archives Collecting Areas."

Below are the three current methods by which to access and search the collections' finding aids for the UHCL Archives and Special Collections:

UHCL Institutional Repository

  • Institutional Repository (IR) @ UHCL is a digital service provided by Neumann Library that preserves and provides access to the scholarship and creative works produced and owned by the University of Houston-Clear Lake community. It is used largely to make published resources available online. UHCL Archives utilizes the IR to host its PDF document versions of the finding aids for the various arranged and described collections in all of the Archives' collecting areas. Each collecting area has it's own collection page, with a listing of the finding aids and digitized materials from those collections in the IR. Click on the name of the individual or collection to navigate to the PDF of the finding aid, and an abstract of the collection's creators and holdings.

Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO)

  • Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) is a consortial program that provides free public access to collection descriptions or “finding aids” created by the state’s archives, libraries, and museums that describe the primary source documents and objects in their care. TARO was established in 1999 with initial funding from the Texas Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund, one year after the release of the first version of Encoded Archival Description (EAD) online finding aid XML display schema developed by a group of American archives professionals. UHCL Archives began contributing full-text searchable finding aids to TARO in early 2022, and will continue to add finding aids as quickly as possible. You can browse by repository on the site under "University of Houston Clear Lake Archives and Special Collections" to see all of the collections' finding aids we have uploaded to the site. However, if collections you are looking for cannot be located on TARO, please visit the Neumann Library IR for the PDF of the finding aid.

Contact UHCL Archives and Special Collections

  • A number of collections have not yet been arranged and described with completed finding aids within all of the Archives' collecting areas. Some collections have incomplete inventories, or the finding aids have not yet been put online. Contact the UHCL Archives staff at archives@uhcl.edu or call 281-283-3962 to inquire about specific collections for which you cannot locate online finding aids.

Starting in 2022, the UHCL Archives and Special Collection began implementing a new collection numbering system, in which the collecting area abbreviations are being used as the basis for collection numbering. The Archives will be using "HSF-" to number Human Space Flight Collections; "CLA" to number Clear Lake Area Collections; and "UA-" to number University Archives records series and collections. For example, HSF- represents “Human Space Flight Collection," and a numerical collection number is assigned within this category. The previous numbering system for archival collections was composed of the year in which the collection was accessioned into the UHCL Archives’ holdings, and the number of the collection in the order it was accessioned. For example, a collection number use to be “2015-0004." Please be aware of this different collection numbering while reviewing UHCL Archives' finding aids online.

*Dictionary of Archives Terminology, Society of American Archivists, s.v. “finding aid,” accessed July 31, 2022, at https://dictionary.archivists.org/entry/finding-aid.html 

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