Forums work!

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Forums work!

  1. 1. FORUMS WORKChristian van der Ven Offene Archive Spyer, Germany 22 November 2012
  2. 2. About Me Christian van der Ven Coördinator Reference and Digital Services Brabant Historical Information Center ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Digital Archivist / Blogger Archives 2.0 / Social Media @cvanderven
  3. 3. Topics Forums work! Goals BHIC Overview Strategy Results The good and the bad Questions and discussion Bonus: Chat works! (only when there’s time left)
  4. 4. Forums work! In between all new Web 2.0 tools and Social Media, forums have been underestimated and neglected But forums have been there since the start of the Internet... and there’s a good reason for that: Forums work! Cheap for archives, easy for users All about content, users and interaction Customizable and expandable Largest and most active online communities use a forum as platform
  5. 5. Goals BHIC Build user communities for local history, genealogy and historical research in North-Brabant Crowdsource for new and additional information related to local history, and archives and collections Create an alternative for traditional reference, a platform where researchers can help each other
  6. 6. Overview
  7. 7. OverviewForums for Local History Pages (2006) Genealogy & Historical Research (2007) Water Map (2009) All forums consist of new posts and comments Local History Pages and Water Map forums also include comments on stories and photos on the website
  8. 8. OverviewForum management Started in 2008 Became a scheduled task in 2009 Monitored & managed daily by Reference Archivists Supported by topic specialists Management via rss feeds in Google Reader
  9. 9. Strategy
  10. 10. Strategy Monitor constantly Initially: stimulate use by replying on each post No question? Still reply! Challenge patrons for new comments and information Stimulate connections between patrons Explore new frontiers services, without charge (at first) Don’t pull back faster than the community advances Stimulate use by referring to forums (via e-mail, chat) Be nice to ‘regulars’ (extra service, Christmas Cards, special activity day for users etc.)
  11. 11. Results
  12. 12. 10000 8964 8781 9000 8000 7000 6000 5567 5950 5000 4000 3000 2000 2120 2049 1000 714 618 380 347 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Until October New Posts Local History/Water New Posts Genealogy/Historical Research Comments Local History/Water Comments Genealogy/Historical Research
  13. 13. New Posts and Comments Genealogy/ Historical Research7000600050004000300020001000 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Until October New Posts Comments
  14. 14. Share of Posts Genealogy/ Historical Research7000600050004000300020001000 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Until October BHIC Users Graph shows posting messages, not monitoring them
  15. 15. Avarage Amount of Comments15,010,0 5,0 0,0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Until October Local History Water Genealogy/Historical Research Total
  16. 16. Community in 2011 Graph based on 5688 posts by 1283 people who left their e-mail address That’s 65% of the total amount of posts for 2011 800 700 707 users posted 1 message 600 500 400Users 300 1 user posted 451 messages 200 (and she is from New Zealand) 100 0 1 3 5 7 9 13 15 19 37 43 45 62 11 17 21 23 25 30 39 50 71 86 7 1 24 45 Posts
  17. 17. The good and the bad Patrons (and archivists) meet, share and help Loss of monopoly and natural authority Higher flow rate than traditional reference Mix with other service channels Online contact becomes more social and personal Public compliments... and complaints Change of work space and time Rise of community and new type of volunteers Bycatch in the form of stories, photos, indexes etc.
  18. 18. The good... “I find it to be a bit of a sport to try and find info on the internet, or in the case of the digital archives, from databases” Dorethé, 29 januari 2009 (and she already posted 700 messages in 2012!)
  19. 19. Questions & Discussion
  20. 20. Chat works!
  21. 21. Goals BHIC To prevent people from clicking away from our website, by offering a direct, easy accessible help service via chat from each webpage The digital archivist as moderator, oracle, support and anchor, as the digital face of the website
  22. 22. W ee k da ys 7 PM – 10 PM
  23. 23. Subjects History Genealogy Research GeneralSource data: 2009/2010
  24. 24. Handling Answered Followed by e-mail Invited to study room Invited to e-mail Internally redirected Referred Not answered OtherSource data: 2009/2010
  25. 25. Results About 1.300 chats per year First staffed reference desk in a virtual research room Very, very, very happy patrons 

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