Finding Aids FAQs

What is a Finding Aid?

According to the Library of Congress, a Finding Aid is  “A document that describes the scope, contents, and provenance of a collection and lists the contents according to the physical organization of the collection (e.g., thematic, chronological, or geographical). Finding aids may be either published or unpublished.  A published finding aid often includes supplementary materials, such as essays, biographies, or chronologies that provide an intellectual context for the collection.” 

How Do I Cite the Finding Aid?

Each finding aid has a preferred citation at the bottom section of the finding aid.

Preferred format is:

(Collection Name)
Local History and Genealogy Department
Onondaga County Public Library

Is There a Finding Aid Document for Every Collection in Local History/Genealogy?

No, finding aids are available for some collections and we are continuing to produce more finding aids for various resources in our Department. 

What is the Local History and Genealogy Policy on Access to the Collection?

  • Materials must be used in the Department.  
  • Patrons must have a valid library card.
  • Out-of-town visitors may obtain a library card on the main floor of the library using a photo ID with a current address (such as a license).  
  • All copying is done by departmental staff for a fee.

Can I See Actual Documents or Collections on the Website?

Presently they are only accessible in the Department.

Can I Order Copies of Finding Aid Documents?

Yes.  Copies are available for a fee; please contact the Department at 315-435-1900 or  

How Can I Find Other Resources in the Department?

Please refer to the LHG Helpful Tips on how to effectively search the OCPL Catalog.

How Can I Contact the Local History/Genealogy Staff for Further Collection Information?

You can contact the Department by e-mail at, by telephone at 315-435-1900, or by mail at: Local History/Genealogy Department, 447 S. Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202 

How Do I Visit the Archives in Person?

To find Local History/Genealogy hours, directions and parking information please refer to the Local History/Genealogy main page.