Are you being served?

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Are you being served? How knowing digital users can help you improve access to your alderman and notary archives and loads of other stuff (Südwestdeutscher Archivtag, Konstanz, Germany, 24 May 2014)

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Are you being served?

  1. 1. Are You Being Served?Are You Being Served? How knowing digital users can help you improve access to your alderman and notary archives and loads of other stuff Südwestdeutscher Archivtag | Konstanz, Germany | May 24, 2014
  2. 2. Meet ChristianMeet Christian  Works at BHIC, Netherlands  Coördinates reference services & digital innovation  Founder of Archief 2.0  Blogger/speaker/writer www.digitalearchivaris.nl @cvanderven
  3. 3. A great idea!A great idea! “Let’s scan our alderman* archives and let volunteers make them accessible in the best way possible” *) Stadträte until 1811
  4. 4. Best index ever!
  5. 5. ResultsResults  Best index ever?  No, in about 10 years of hard work a group of volunteers completed about 1% of the index…  …and the project was halted
  6. 6. The following 12 slides contain screenshots that even archivists may find too old, outdated & boring (Also all of them are in Dutch)
  7. 7. IndexesInformation desk Knowledge base Education Depository
  8. 8. Meet WillieMeet Willie  Regular visitor at BHIC  Sweet person who likes to help other researchers  Made local notary archives accessible
  9. 9. Over 33.000 transcriptions
  10. 10. Basic source information and a summary of the deed put into plain text
  11. 11. Summary Source info Search
  12. 12. Well deserved! How lovely!
  13. 13. The old daysThe old days  Meeting users in our study halls  Knowing users over many years of visits  Basis for providing services  Basis for successful collaboration And then the Internet came and it changed everything…
  14. 14. Meet digital usersMeet digital users  IP addresses  Visits and pageviews  Click paths, session duration, exit pages, browser type etc.  Difficult collaborating with users who are difficult to meet and difficult to know  (Difficult giving them flowers!)
  15. 15. Visits to study hall and website BHIC in 2001 and 2010
  16. 16. So…So…  How to meet these users?  How to get to know these users? In order of successful collaborating with them
  17. 17. About me, and my motivation to participate
  18. 18. Meet TheoMeet Theo "I only participate in the Amsterdam population registry project, and yes, as someone from Amsterdam you hope to meet some of your ancestors this way"
  19. 19. Meet MaartenMeet Maarten "Each time when I have finished a scan and push the ‘send’ button, I experience a moment of happiness"
  20. 20. Meet DitekeMeet Diteke "Reading the old handwritings offers challenging puzzles which improve my paleography skills" Could she check on other people’s transcripts? Contact her!
  21. 21. Meet another TheoMeet another Theo "Personally I enjoy the many discussions on the forum, because you might be doing the data entry on your own, but you're not alone"
  22. 22. Meet DorethéMeet Dorethé "I find it to be a bit of a sport to try and find info on the internet or, when it concerns digital archives, from databases"
  23. 23. Meet DorethéMeet Dorethé  Got to know her via forum  Posted 1.147 messages  Many people even believe she’s staff of the BHIC  She got flowers for helping us doing ‘our’ reference work
  24. 24. Meet PaulineMeet Pauline  Enthusiastic historian  Lives in Nuenen, Brabant  Has an interest in archeology, monuments, Vincent van Gogh, recreation, tourism, village marketing and poetry
  25. 25. Quick win for interaction on Twitter!
  26. 26. “Welcome, and obviously we are very proud of this letter by Vincent van Gogh”
  27. 27. “Very special! And inspiring. Also nice to be followed back. This is the home of Van Gogh’s father”
  28. 28. Profiles for us(e)Profiles for us(e) Our digital users provide us with an amazing amount of quality information about themselves, their interests, motivation etc. But how do you use this information? And do you?
  29. 29. Meet BenMeet Ben  Independent software developer  Blogs about crowdsourced transcription projects  Developed FromThePage A free collaborative transcription platform
  30. 30. Meet Ben’s volunteerMeet Ben’s volunteer “You're going to laugh, but… I have been transcribing just a few pages at a time lately because I didn't want to finish before the next diary is posted! I didn't want to run out of diary, in other words.”
  31. 31. Statistics for us(e)Statistics for us(e)  Statistics  Websites, applications, social media etc.  Who are they?  What do they search for?  What collections do they use?  What way do they participate?  Etc.
  32. 32. Meet MarissaMeet Marissa  CEO at Yahoo!  Previously vice president of user experice at Google  Oversaw layout of Google’s search page  “Focus on the user”
  33. 33. The one blue is more greenish than the other blue (really!)
  34. 34. A/B testing pointed out that in fact the blue-blue was more clicked on than the green-blue (really!)
  35. 35. Let data decideLet data decide  What you can’t learn from the info of one user, but can learn from the statistics of a crowd  “Let the data decide” --Marissa Mayer
  36. 36. Most popular items are about new resources… and women!
  37. 37. Niceeffect Start of putting stuff in the news letter that had proven to be clicked on Bettereffect
  38. 38. Second chance?Second chance? So let’s try this at home… (Well, at the archives that is, with our alderman archives project)
  39. 39. Second chance?Second chance?  What do users need, what do they tell us?  What do data tell us users really use?  Where can we meet these users?  Can we collaborate with them?
  40. 40. Users search for names of people and places
  41. 41. Users make deeds accessible by making short summaries of them, including names of people and places
  42. 42. Users willing to scan and index archives meet each other on our forum, where we can also meet them
  43. 43. We may import these indexes in our system, linked to our inventories and scans, if scans are already available
  44. 44. We even link to photographed resources on other websites, not worrying too much about quality and such
  45. 45. ResultsResults  Users helped us to make 225.000 deeds accessible through our website within 2 years  User community provides us with a steady stream of fresh records  This database quickly became our most popular one for non specific genealogical research
  46. 46. What’s next?What’s next?  Acquire photos of the archives from users and import them into the database  Let software extract names of people and places from the summary text into separate fields  Make archives accessible on a basic level, and let indexes be enriched through crowdsourcing
  47. 47. Call for actionCall for action  Meet your digital users & know them better  Use various channels & sources of information  Improve your services in collaboration with users  (And less is often more!)
  48. 48. Thank you!Thank you!  Any questions?  Thank you for staying with me!  Please meet me after my talk, and online

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