Research Findings from the Building a National Finding Aid Network Project
From 2020–2023, OCLC was a partner on Building a National Finding Aid Network (NAFAN), an IMLS-supported research and demonstration project to build the foundation for a national archival finding aid network to address the inconsistency and inequity of the current archival discovery landscape (LG-246349-OLS-20). The project was led by the California Digital Library (CDL), with partners at OCLC, the University of Virginia Library, Shift Collective, and Chain Bridge Group.
OCLC led research for the project, undertaking an investigation of both end user and contributor needs in relation to finding aid aggregations, and an evaluation of the quality and consistency of existing EAD encoded finding aid data from regional archival aggregators.
The NAFAN findings represent an unprecedented effort in research serving the archival community. This research provides valuable insight that can be used by the NAFAN project and inform other projects serving archival researchers and archivists, those wishing to leverage archival descriptive data, and researchers of archives and archival users for exploring new paths of inquiry for their own research.
Summary of Research
by Chela Scott Weber, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Brooke Doyle, Lesley A. Langa, Merrilee Proffitt, Bruce Washburn, Itza A. Carbajal
This report contextualizes and synthesizes the findings from across all OCLC’s research activities on the NAFAN grant, with a focus on how findings relate to future phases of work on the NAFAN project.
The findings indicate that there is significant value to be drawn from a national aggregation of archival description. They also identify challenges that must be overcome to build the community of participation that a national finding aid aggregation will require to be sustainable.
All reports are available in the California Digital Library eScholarship repository.
Summary Findings Abstract
A two-page flyer summarizing the Building a National Finding Aid (NAFAN) project, research activities, and findings.
Weber, Chela Scott, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Brooke Doyle, Lesley A. Langa, Merrilee Proffitt, Bruce Washburn, Itza A. Carbajal. 2023. Summary of Research: Findings from the Building a National Finding Aid Network Project. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. https://doi.org/10.25333/7a4c-0r03.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, through grant LG-246349-OLS-20. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.