From the beginning of the project, the concept of usability was paramount. Usability ensures that a collection is arranged and described so that researchers can easily identify and find materials. Whenever possible, adherence to the basic archival tenets of provenance (not intermingling materials from one office or creator with others) and respect-des-fonds (maintaining the order of materials as put together by the creating office or person) is maintained. Because of the disorganization of a number of series within the collection, it was necessary to recreate provenance and logical order.
Twenty-four Series have been described and arranged at the folder level. Folder level description identifies information within categorical break downs. For instance, in the finding aid for the Fire District Series:
|Town of Hempstead|
|#||County Resolutions: Establishment of Fire District in Towns of Hempstead and North Hempstead - 1907; Fixing Treasurer Bonds - 1928|
|#||General Fire District Election Materials - 1910-1939|
|#||Fire District Commissioners/Fire Protection Districts - 1948-1950|
|#/#||Fire Insurance Ratings (result of inspection and evaluation of fire defenses of fire district)/Fire Protection Surveys (inspection of fire defenses of fire district) - 1954-1966|
|#/#||Fire Insurance Ratings/Fire Protection Surveys - 1967-1971|
See individual series in Record Series Description for specific arrangement format. These twenty-four series have been removed to the Archives Vault and may be accessed through finding aids.
Four Series have been described at the series level, that is an overview of the materials, and are located in the inactive vaults. Partial finding aids are available for all four series.
The vast majority of the records created after the 1870s are stamped with a File Date. This date is not used in establishing the true chronological order, since filing could be weeks or years after the fact. All materials are ordered by actual date of creation. The majority of Series Descriptions contain a SEE ALSO notation. This is provided to furnish the researcher with additional sources within the Archives. Some files also contain case numbers. The case number indicates that a resolution was passed for that specific topic.
The Authority File provides the researcher with a breakdown of series by incorporated villages or unincorporated area. This is only given in those series that are broken down into geographical areas. For instance, if a researcher is searching for records under Cedarhurst, they would find in the Authority File:
|a.||Village Incorporation Series|
|b.||Village Annexation Series|
|c.||Highway Series - Road Dedications|
|d.||Highway Series - Road Acceptances|
|e.||Grand Army Relief Series - Businesses List|