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Users articulate how they would prefer to find archival materials. How users actually search for archival materials is not well understood. What are the gaps between users' needs and present possibilities for discovery? What metadata elements and structures can optimize discovery of archival materials for users, especially discovery at the network level?


Comparison of user preferences and user search behaviors can inform decisions to maximize the effectiveness of metadata creation for archives. Analysis of use of discovery environments—commercial hubs, specialized portals and institutional sites—can provide useful evidence about how to adapt current practices in order to maximize discovery and use of unique assets.

This project will collect logs of search terms from several archival discovery environments, such as cross-searching networks and finding aid portals. Search terms will be analyzed for patterns of success finding archival materials on the open Web, at the network level.


Synthesized patterns of successful search terms can be combined with research on data elements in order to recommend strategies to realign current limitations for finding archives with users' desires.


Related work:

Most recent updates: Page content: 2010-11-11


Jennifer Schaffner