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
Meet ChristianMeet Christian
Works at BHIC, Netherlands
services & digital innovation
Founder of Archief 2.0
A great idea!A great idea!
“Let’s scan our alderman* archives and let
volunteers make them accessible in the best
*) Stadträte until 1811
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…
Meet digital usersMeet digital users
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!)
Visits to study hall and website BHIC in 2001 and 2010
How to meet these users?
How to get to know these users?
In order of successful collaborating with them
“Welcome, and obviously
we are very proud of this
letter by Vincent van Gogh”
“Very special! And
inspiring. Also nice to
be followed back. This
is the home of Van
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?
Meet BenMeet Ben
Blogs about crowdsourced
A free collaborative
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.”
Statistics for us(e)Statistics for us(e)
Websites, applications, social media etc.
Who are they?
What do they search for?
What collections do they use?
What way do they participate?
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”
The one blue is more
greenish than the other
A/B testing pointed out
that in fact the blue-blue
was more clicked on
than the green-blue
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”
Start of putting stuff in
the news letter that had
proven to be clicked on
Second chance?Second chance?
So let’s try this at home…
(Well, at the archives that is,
with our alderman archives project)
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?
Users make deeds
accessible by making
short summaries of
them, including names
of people and places
Users willing to
scan and index
each other on
where we can
also meet them
We may import these indexes in our system, linked to our
inventories and scans, if scans are already available
We even link to photographed resources on other
websites, not worrying too much about quality and such
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
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
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!)
Thank you!Thank you!
Thank you for staying with me!
Please meet me after my talk, and online