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C.F.W. Coker Award: The Princeton University Library Archival Description Working Group

The Princeton University Library Archival Description Working Group is being awarded the C.F.W. Coker Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA) for its new finding aids interface.

The C.F.W. Coker Award recognizes finding aids, finding aid systems, innovative development in archival description, or descriptive tools that enable archivists to produce more effective finding aids. To merit consideration for the award, nominees must set national standards, represent a model for archives description, or otherwise have a substantial impact on national descriptive practice.

Princeton’s finding aids interface was released in September 2012. The system describes every archival collection held within the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton. The site includes a number of innovations, including direct access to digital content, sortable inventories, and user commenting at every descriptive level.

The Award Committee noted that the team at Princeton “created a complete user experience of the Princeton University collections that is elegant in its outward simplicity and robust in its search capabilities. . . . The site is, in short, a triumph of innovative descriptive practice.” Maureen Callahan, John Delaney, Shaun Ellis, Regine Heberlein, Dan Santamaria (chair), Jon Stroop, and Don Thornbury serve on the Princeton Working Group.  The site also builds on descriptive data created by many staff involved with aggressive processing and data conversion projects over the last seven years.

Established in 1984, the award honors SAA Fellow C.F.W. Coker.