Original Paper

Archival Science

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 21-36

First online:

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

  • Margaret O’Neill AdamsAffiliated withElectronic and Special Media Records Services Division, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Email author 

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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.


Archives Research data NARA Electronic records Archival reference services Users of electronic records