, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 21-36
Date: 06 Sep 2007

Analyzing archives and finding facts: use and users of digital data records

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

This article focuses on use and users of data from the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration), U.S. Who is using archival electronic records, and why are they using them? It describes the changes in use and consequently user groups over the last 30 years. The changes in use are related to the evolution of reference services for electronic records at NARA, as well as to growth in the types of electronic records accessioned by NARA. The first user group consisted mainly of researchers with a social science background, who usually expected to handle the data themselves. The user community expanded when electronic records with personal value, like casualty records, were transferred to NARA, and broadened yet again when a selection of NARA’s electronic records became available online. Archivists trying to develop user services for electronic records will find that the needs and expectations of fact or information seeking data users are different from those of researchers using and analyzing data files.

The opinions and analysis in this essay are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the [U.S.] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Identification of specific users of NARA’s electronic records comes from published sources, which are cited, or with the permission of the named individual, for which the author is grateful.