After the Digital Revolution
All too often, archive websites dissuade users from recognizing, let alone using, digital content. Those of us who work within the archive and library sector may say that we are service-oriented or patron-driven, but in practice what that usually means is that we value the accuracy and timeliness of our answers and the warmth of our interactions, not how users engage with us online. After all, we are not software and web designers. As a result, we rely on external web-based platforms like ArchiveGrid, internal discovery platforms like Aeon, and internal IT teams to facilitate digital access to our content. But poor UX results in discovery that requires more support by archivists and librarians if users even make it to us to ask for help. While extensive UX testing is needed to provide better access on ArchiveGrid, Aeon, and individual repository websites, this contribution will specifically discuss the complexities of finding born digital content through ArchiveGrid, the closest thing the United States have to a national archival discovery tool. Structured as a mock conversation between Bruce Washburn, a software engineer at OCLC, and Amy Chen, a researcher and librarian at the University of Iowa, this conversation will show what it would take to improve ArchiveGrid by improving extent data, providing uniform file types, fostering linked open data, and more.
archives, UX, discovery, metadata, born digital
Copyright © 2018 Amy Chen and Bruce Washburn
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