Archival Science

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 21–36 | Cite as

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

Original Paper

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.

Keywords

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

References

  1. Adams MO (2003) Three decades of description and reference services for electronic records. In: Ambacher BI (ed) Thirty years of electronic records. The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, MDGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams MO (1995) Punch card records: precursors of electronic records. Am Arch 58:(2):182–201Google Scholar
  3. Ambacher BI (ed) (2003) Thirty years of electronic records. The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, MDGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown TE (1982) Who owns contract and grant data and who can use it?: a look at the U.S.A. IASSIST Newsl 6(3):4–8Google Scholar
  5. Brown TE (1996) Myth or reality: is there a generation gap among electronic records archivists? Archivaria 41(Spring):234–243Google Scholar
  6. Butler D (2003) Flight records reveal full extent of Agent Orange contamination. Nature 422:649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chalou G (1984) Reference. In: Daniels MF, Walch T (eds) A modern archives reader: basic readings on archival theory and practice. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Cox, RJ (2000) Searching for authority: archivists and electronic records in the new world at the fin-de-siecle. First Monday Vol. 5(1) (January) http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue5_1/cox/index.html, consulted 06 Nov 2006
  9. Craig BL (2003) Perimeters with fences? Or thresholds with doors? Two views of a border. Am Arch 66(1):96–101Google Scholar
  10. DataPASS (nd) Data preservation alliance for the social sciences. http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/DATAPASS/, consulted 05 Nov 2006
  11. David M (1980) Access to data: the frustration and utopia of the researcher. Rev Public Data Use 8:327–337Google Scholar
  12. Elliott DW (2003) The Vietnamese war: revolution and social change in the Mekong Delta 1930–1975, 2 vols. M.E. Sharpe, Inc, Armonk, NY & LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Fleckner JA (2004) The last revolution and the next. J Archival Organ 2(1/2):9–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gray AS, Geraci D (1995) Complex reference services: data files for social research. The Reference Librarian. The Haworth Press, Inc., Binghamton, NY. 48:135–137. Co-published simultaneously in Baxter P (ed) (1995) Social Sciences Reference Service. The Haworth Press, Inc., Binghamton, NYGoogle Scholar
  15. Hull TJ (1995) Reference services and electronic records: the impact of changing methods of communication and access. Ref Serv Rev 8(2):73–78Google Scholar
  16. IASSIST [International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology], http://www.iassistdata.org, consulted 06 Nov 2006
  17. Kalyvas SN, Kocher M (2003) Violence and control in civil war: an analysis of the Hamlet Evaluation System. Unpublished paper provided to the author; prepared for the annual meeting of the American Political Science AssociationGoogle Scholar
  18. Lovering D (2001) Taming the killing fields of Laos. Sci Am August:67–68Google Scholar
  19. National Archives and Records Administration (2006a) Access to archival databases (AAD). http://www.archives.gov/aad, consulted 06 Nov 2006
  20. National Archives and Records Administration (2006b) Archival research catalog (ARC). http://www.archives.gov/research/arc, consulted 08 Nov 2006
  21. National Archives and Records Administration (2006c) Electronic records archives (ERA) program. http://www.archives.gov/era/index.html, consulted 06 Nov 2006
  22. National Archives of Australia (2003) Digital records bibliography, 1995–2003. http://www.naa.gov.au/recordkeeping/er/biblio/er_biblio.html, consulted 12 March 2005
  23. NDIIPP (nd) National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. Library of congress. http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/, consulted 05 Nov 2006
  24. Nielsen P (1995) Merging cultures: Danish integration of academic data service into traditional archive system. IASSIST Q 19(2):27–35. http://iassistdata.org/publications/iq/iq19/iqvol192nielsen.pdf, consulted 06 Nov 2006
  25. Paulauskas J (1973) Statistics and statistical materials in the records of the war relocation authority. Reference information paper No. 59. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  26. Perlman D (2003) Seeing red over Agent Orange: U.S. understated use of dioxin during Vietnam, researcher says, San Francisco Chronicle, online edition (http://www.SFGate.com), consulted 21 April 2003
  27. Rosenzweig R (2001) The road to Xanadu: public and private pathways on the history Web. J Am Hist, September 2001Google Scholar
  28. Ruggles R et al (1965) Report of the committee on the Preservation and Use of Economic Data to the Social Science Research Council, March 1965. In: Records of the committee on the disposition of machine-readable records 1967–1975, NN3-064-82-4, Records of the National Archives, Record Group 64. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MarylandGoogle Scholar
  29. Schellenberg TR (1956) The appraisal of modern records. In: Daniels MF, Walch T (eds) A modern archives reader: basic readings on archival theory and practice. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, DC, 1984Google Scholar
  30. Stellman J et al (2003) The extent and patterns of usage of Agent Orange and other herbicides in Vietnam. Nature 422:681–687CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tibbo HR (2003) Primarily history in America: how U.S. historians search for primary material at the dawn of the digital age. Am Arch 66(1):9–50Google Scholar
  32. Tibbo H, Dietz B (2004) Developing standardized metrics for assessing use and user services for primary sources. Archival Outlook, November/December 2004Google Scholar
  33. Yakel E (2000) Thinking inside and outside the boxes: archival reference services at the turn of the century. Archivaria 49(Spring):140–160Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Electronic and Special Media Records Services DivisionNational Archives and Records Administration (NARA)College ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations