Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Archival Organization

Author ORCID Identifier

Paul Daybell

Andrea Payant

Liz Woolcott

Becky Skeen



Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



As part of a multi-faceted research project examining user engagement with various types of descriptive metadata, Utah State University Libraries Cataloging and Metadata Services unit (CMS) investigated the discoverability of local Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids. The research team put two versions of the same finding aid online with one described at the file (box or folder) level and the other at the item level. Over a year later, the team pulled the analytics for each guide and assessed which descriptive level was most frequently accessed. The research team also looked at the type of search terms patrons utilized and where in the finding aid they were located. Usage data shows that personal names are the most common type of search term, search terms are most commonly found in the Collection Inventory, and that the availability of item-level description improves discovery by an average of 6,100% over file-level descriptions.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Archival Organization on 04 Jul 2022, available online:



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