MARAC Finding Aids Award Committee

The Finding Aids Award Committee is a special committee. It was established by a vote of the membership at the Spring 1982 meeting. It presents several finding aid awards at each spring meeting and presents the C. Herbert Finch Award at each fall meeting. Based on a Bylaws change voted by members at the Spring 2013 Business Meeting, members on the committee will become elected, rather than appointed by the MARAC Chair, starting in Spring 2014 elections.

The committee has developed a comprehensive Finding Aids Award Committee Handbook (PDF) to help guide its work.


The purpose of the Finding Aids Award Committee is to recognize outstanding achievement in the preparation of finding aids by institutions within the MARAC region or by MARAC members and to promote improvements in this area of archival work by drawing attention to characteristics of successful finding aids. The committee is also responsible for awarding an annual prize (Finch Award) honoring online publications, including virtual exhibitions, web sites and web pages devoted to the promotion and use of archival materials, created by individuals or institutions in the MARAC region. It is the responsibility of the committee to publicize the awards and to solicit entries from the membership. Awards are presented by the Committee Chair at both the MARAC Spring and Fall meetings.


The Finding Aids Award Committee currently consists of five (5) members appointed by the MARAC Chair. Committee members shall serve two-year staggered terms and may be reappointed. The MARAC Chair shall appoint the chair of the Finding Aids Award Committee who serves for one year.

However starting in spring 2014 based on a MARAC Bylaws change approved at the Spring 2013 Business Meeting, the Committee will consist of six (6) members who each serve for a term of three years. Two will be elected each year by the MARAC membership. The elected member receiving the most votes will become the Junior Co-chair of the Finding Aids Committee in their second year of service. The Junior Co-chair shall become the Senior Co-chair in their third year of service. The MARAC Chair shall fill any vacancies on the Committee.

Meetings to discuss award selections may be closed upon unanimous vote of the committee.

The committee reviews submissions once a year and makes the awards. Decisions are by majority vote. A committee member may not vote on a finding aid or other publication submitted by his/her institution. If the committee receives no more than three nominees in any given year, the committee has the discretion to cancel the second and/or third place awards for that year and award only first place. If the committee finds that none of the nominations for that year are worthy of an award, it has the right not to make any awards for that year.

Nominations must be made by a MARAC member and the finding aid must be issued by an institution in the MARAC region. Nominated finding aids must be available to the public in the calendar year preceding the spring MARAC meeting at which the awards are announced.

At the spring 1998 meeting in Saratoga Springs, New York, the Steering Committee approved the Finding Aids Award Committee's recommendation to name the first place prize the Fredric M. Miller Finding Aid Award to honor the memory of Fred Miller, archivist and author, who died in 1998.

If necessary, the committee may request a budget for expenses from the MARAC Treasurer. This should be submitted by April 1 of each year.

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