Social Media and Archives:
A Survey of Archive Users

An OCLC Research Report by:

Bruce Washburn, Ellen Eckert, and Merrilee Proffitt, OCLC Research

Download the report »
(.pdf: 200K/32pp.)

Key findings:

  • E-mail and word of mouth continue to be the primary ways archival researchers share information about the resources they discover.
  • Features such as tags, reviews, recommendations and user comments are viewed as useful by fewer than half of those responding.
  • However, researchers value recommendations given by librarians and archivists.
  • One-quarter of all survey respondents identified themselves as "unaffiliated scholars," representing a significant number of those interested in making use of archival material.


This report details findings from a survey of users of archives to learn more about how researchers find out about systems like ArchiveGrid, and the role that social media, recommendations, reviews, and other forms of user-contributed annotation play in archival research. It will be of interest to those working with archival discovery services, or those investigating the utility of social media in discovery environments.


The information presented in this report will broaden knowledge about who uses archives and special collections for research, as well as how those users communicate and share information about systems like OCLC Research's ArchiveGrid.

For more information:

Bruce Washburn
Consulting Software Engineer
OCLC Research


Quick links:

Social Media and Archives: A Survey of Archive Users

  • Report publication announcement [link]
  • Download the report (.pdf: 200K/32 pp.) [link]

ArchiveGrid activity page [link]

ArchiveGrid system [link]

ArchiveGrid Blog [link]

Suggested citation:
Washburn, Bruce, Ellen Eckert and Merrilee Proffitt. 2013. Social Media and Archives: A Survey of Archive Users. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.