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New search options for archives and collections in Collection Guides

The collection guides of archives and collections of Leiden University Libraries (UBL) have been made available via the portal Collection Guides. This has greatly improved the findability, visibility and ease of use of these collection finding aids.

On the Collection Guides portal, users can comprehensively search and browse all guides for archives and collections. The collection guides contain information about the origin, acquisition, content and accessibility of collections and archives. Some records also contain complete inventories. A shorter description of each collection is also included in the online Catalogue, but the browsing functionality makes Collection Guides much more suited for detailed searches.

Searching and browsing

Users can search and browse through collections, keywords, people, and organisations. For example, by searching for the term KITLV users will get all collection guides that belong to the collection of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. The same applies to the search term MNL, which returns all collection guides within the collection of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde. Users with a preference for the previous version of the collection guides in Digital Collections, can also download each guide as a PDF. Collection guides are also provided with a request button, with which certain items from archives or collections can be requested for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Some twenty collections and archives have been fully digitised and can be consulted online. The images from Digital Collections are shown within the context of the inventory. By clicking on the thumbnails, users are automatically forwarded to the detailed presentation in Digital Collections. Collection Guides now contains more than 650 collection guides. With constant updates to the platform, it is worth checking regularly.


Collection Guides uses ArchivesSpace, a system specially developed by libraries for making archives and collections available. Implementation of ArchivesSpace by libraries in the Netherlands is still limited, but the software is widely used in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and especially the United States. The flexibility of ArchivesSpace provides the UBL the opportunity to tailor the findability and usage options to the wishes of the user and the organization. The UBL collaborated with the University Library of Amsterdam for the implementation of ArchivesSpace in Collection Guides.

Search options

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