Online Finding Aids


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  • Kuhlthau: Six stage information search process, uncertainty-optimism-confusion frustration doubt-clarity-confidence-satisfaction/disappointment
  • Online Finding Aids

    1. 1. An Analysis of Joyner Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Collection Guides Interface:Implications for Archival Management & Patron Access Michelle Belden April 30, 2012
    2. 2. Implications for Archival Management One of the primary aims of archival management: Enable and promote the use of our materials High quality interface to high quality descriptions enables patrons to find information without going through staff, saving time- However, will also create more demand! However, reference staff time better spent! And, increased use is good for funding requests!
    3. 3. Archival Management Implications, Cont’d - Data Management? Not sure of internal systems Not sure of reports from this FA platform But, possibly enables tracking of:  Access Restrictions  Copyright Restrictions  Reference statistics (Aeon?)  Online user statistics (Google Analytics?)
    4. 4. Selected Readings re: Finding Aid Usability Conway, Paul. "Understanding the Users of Traditional Archival Collections: Implications for Digital Library Design." 1996 Workshop. Hutchinson, Timothy. “Strategies for Searching Online Finding Aids: A Retrieval Experiment.” Archivaria 44 (Fall 1997): 72–101. Meissner, Dennis. “First Things First: Reengineering Finding Aids for Implementation of EAD.” American Archivist 60.4 (Fall/Winter 1997): 372-387. Craig, Barbara L. “Old Myths in New Clothes: Expectations of Archives Users.”Archivaria 45 (Spring 1998): 118-126. Duff, Wendy and P. Stoyanova. “Transforming the Crazy Quilt: Archival Displays from a User’s Point of View.” Archivaria 45 (Spring 1998): 44-79. Altman, Burt and John R. Nemmers. “The Usability of On-line Archival Resources: The Polaris Project Finding Aid.” American Archivist 64 (Spring/Summer 2001): 121-131. Gilliland-Swetland, Anne J. “Popularizing the Finding Aid: Exploiting EAD to Enhance Online Discovery and Retrieval in Archival Information Systems by Diverse User Groups.” Journal of Internet Cataloging 4 (2001): 199-225. Szary, R. V. “Encoded finding aids as a transforming technology in archival reference service.” In: Encoded Archival Description on the Internet. Haworth Information Press, 2001. English, Jennifer and Marti Heast, Rashmi Sinha, Kristen Swearingen, Ka-Ping Yee. “Hierarchical Faceted Metadata in Site Search Interfaces.” CHI 2002, April 20-25, 2002, Minneapolis. Published by ACM in 2004. Hill, Amanda. “Serving the invisible researcher: meeting the needs of online users.” Journal of the Society of Archivists 25.2 (October 2004): 139-148. Prom, Christopher J. "User Interactions with Electronic Finding Aids in a Controlled Setting." American Archivist 67. 2 (2004): 234-68. Yakel, Elizabeth. "Encoded Archival Description: Are Finding Aids Boundary Spanners or Barriers for Users?" Journal of Archival Organization 2 (2004): 63-77. Cornish, Alan Kevin; Bond, Trevor James. “Developing and sustaining the Northwest Digital Archives.” Journal of Digital Information 9. 2 (2008). Chapman, Joyce Celeste. “Observing Users: An Empirical Analysis of User Interaction with Online Finding Aids.” Journal of Archival Organization 8. 1 (Jan 2010): 4-30. Daniels , Morgan G. and Elizabeth Yakel. “Seek and You May Find: Successful Search in Online Finding Aid Systems.” American Archivist 73.2 (Fall/Winter 2010): 535-568.
    5. 5. General Guidelines for a Collections Guide Interface: Keep it simple Remove barriers Provide help Serve novices as well as experts Get and stay connected Keep making it better
    6. 6. Keep it simple Uncluttered Google-like search Familiar layouts/mechanisms  Example, top navigation bar
    7. 7. Remove barriers Finding aids can be hard to find  Link SC from library homepage  Put FA search on SC homepage  Submit FA site to Google for indexing  Link from sites like Wikipedia, ArchivesGrid  Promote FA site through library PR, on listservs, at conferences Finding aids can be hard to read  Expand/contract sections  Try to avoid jargon  Use consistent and intuitive structure
    8. 8. Provide help Remember Kuhlthau: research is an emotional process Provide consistent context  Identify repository (user probably dropped in from Google)  Table of contents, with current location highlighted Move from general to specific Provide summaries/previews Think about glossaries/thesauri/suggested vocabularies Provide guidance on archival research  Access does not usually end online! Options to print and email finding aids Always let them contact a human expert
    9. 9. Serve novice & advanced users Search *and* browse Search:  Full-text keyword *and* faceted (separate advanced search)  Search in page and highlight results (some users might not know CTRL+F)  Stem words Browse:  Creators and subjects  Clickable lists
    10. 10. Get and Stay Connected Link finding aids to each other Link finding aids, catalog records, digital projects, website[“Next-gen” catalog interface to search all the above] Link to collections at other libraries/archives
    11. 11. Keep Making It Better
    12. 12. Finding aid sites people like Harvard Yale Columbia Online Archive of California Northwest Digital Archives Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections ECU compares well to all of these.
    13. 13.
    14. 14.  SC linked from library homepage Search linked from SC homepage Google has you indexed Cat records link to FAs which link to digital collections Uncluttered search page Google-like search Search tips right there Simple, consistent top nav bar Separate advanced (faceted) search Separate browse, including creators and subjects
    15. 15. The Guides Themselves  Sections are consistent, well-labeled, expand/contract  Tabs keep information organized, not overwhelming  Links to repository on every finding aid  Clickable Table of Contents  Search in page with highlighted hits  Consistent link to help page  Print option
    16. 16. BONUS AWESOME Geographic browse! What is this page! Requesting materials! Translations! Intriguing:  Adding notes  Leaving feedback
    17. 17. Suggestions FIX LINK to SC from FA home & Homepage: Better idea of mission, more welcoming, HELP on TOP NAV  Also, links to ECU/library/SC/Digital Collections on top could be more visible Possible to group more specific subjects under general headings so as to make browsing by subject less daunting?  (Ex. African-American 20, Agriculture ~40) Provide abstract as mouseover on titles? [See: Netflix, Audible] I would suggest being able to limit search by date range and format TOC highlight where you are in finding aid? Option to email finding aid Mobile app? Link FAs to each other & collections at other SCLs Look for new ways to promote/get the word out
    18. 18. Help
    19. 19. HELP Link to Get Help from guides goes to general help/contact page People are finding your guides via Google, help get them from the guides to the reading room-  Help them understand why SC is different, and make it less intimidating Consolidate resources in one pointer page?  RBM has User’s Guide Final-2011-2012-2.pdf  NCC has libguides & video tutorials   Might want to consider general “Using Special Collections” resource (see example next slide) What about a suggested terms, thesaurus
    20. 20.
    21. 21. Also, look to the patrons Web analytics  Visitor characteristics  When they come, from where, what browsers, mobile?  Traffic  Referers, keywords, paths  Content effectiveness  Page views, bounce rates  More advanced-  Goals/conversions
    22. 22. User Studies Who needs to be included in planning/conducting? Types: think aloud, persona, card sort, focus group, etc. User groups and tasks IRB/funding/recruitment Online Finding Aids Metrics Toolkit: 
    23. 23. Any questions?