Problem statement: There is a mismatch between what users expect and what metadata archivists and librarians provide for discovering unique and rare materials. Librarians and archivists no longer control discovery; "discovery happens elsewhere." The community would benefit from a common understanding about how researchers need and prefer to find primary resources, and what descriptive elements they need for success.
Impact: Recurring lessons learned from user studies can influence decisions about investment of scarce resources in description of primary materials. Many kinds of user studies have been conducted over the last 30 years. From research evidence, the community can determine optimal data and elements to unite users and materials successfully.
This project surveyed a variety of published and unpublished user studies, and synthesized common findings:
- Schaffner, Jennifer. The Metadata is the Interface: Better Description for Better Discovery of Archives and Special Collections, Synthesized from User Studies (.pdf: 191K/18 pp.)
- The Metadata is the Interface Resource List/Bibliography (.doc: 31K/6 pp.)