What is the role of the U.S. National Archives (NARA) in preserving social media records and using social media platforms to engage audiences? This talk presented at IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2018, provided guidance for other national libraries and archives around the world to consider as they provide guidelines to their own governments and elected leaders for capturing, managing, providing access to, and preserving social media records. It provides a case study for how NARA took a dual approach of access and preservation in archiving the tweets and posts of our first social media president, Barack Obama. The presentation also covered how to effectively leverage social media and social business tools to engage audiences with the work of the archives and crowdsource support for citizen researchers.
In a world in which a family historian can type her grandfather’s name into Ancestry.com to start building a family tree, and a journalist can Google to download public domain images, where do the collections searches, online tools, and APIs that museums and archives provide fit in? This paper outlines strategies for better serving people who are looking for the knowledge and expertise within your collections and staff. At the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, we undertook a significant user experience (UX) research project to better understand the online experiences of professional researchers, family historians, and history enthusiasts. Research methods included audits of existing user data (e.g., Google Analytics, survey data) as well as new user interviews, usability testing, a survey, and a landscape analysis. Key findings include the fact that researchers struggle to complete their tasks using existing online tools; people researching family history are particularly unsatisfied and in need of better support; and all audiences require just-in-time help and appropriate orientation to archival research. A major challenge highlighted by this research is how to meet user expectations for item-level records while providing access to digitized records at massive scale.
Read the full paper, originally published in Museums and the Web: Selected Papers from Museums and the Web 2018.
Last month, I took my first girls’ weekend trip away since my daughter was born a year ago. I found myself relaxing in a lovely lake house (expected), sipping wine (expected), and talking, talking, talking for hours on end (expected) about how to “tidy” my house (utterly unexpected!).