Archival Intelligence for AV Archives
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<p>Archival Intelligence</p> <p>Understanding What Users Need to Understand Us(And Our Data):Archival Intelligence for AV ArchivesAmy CiesielskiCuratorciesiel@mailbox.sc.eduMoving Image Research Collections (MIRC)University of South Carolina</p> <p>Research concerns finding ways to streamline cataloging and description processes to make them as efficient as possible that will still result in a successful user experience.</p> <p>If end point is successful user experience, need to start with user point of view. 1</p> <p>Archival Intelligence1.) Knowledge of archival theory, practices, and procedures</p> <p>2.) Strategies for reducing uncertainty and ambiguity when unstructured problems and ill-defined solutions are the norm</p> <p>3.) Intellective skills, or the ability to understand the connection between representations of documentsand the actual object...being represented </p> <p>Yakel, E., & Torres, D. (2003). AI: archival intelligence and user expertise. The American Archivist, 66(1), p. 5.</p> <p>For primary sources</p> <p>Starting point. Come up in my work life many times. </p> <p>First step. Lack of AI has the potential to drive away users before they even get to search. Frustration, failed searches, can lead to someone just moving on.</p> <p>1Basic understanding of how archives work, what they do, common rules.</p> <p>2Unstructured problem: existence of evidence uncertain, search tactics will vary between institutions. Learning and using different access tools. Being able to alter the query based on results or failed searches. Understanding the best questions to ask or how to ask them.</p> <p>3Intellective skills, generally referring to users understanding the difference between catalog records/finding aids and the object itself, how to use the information to relate to the archival object, look for patterns, identify other useful resources. This becomes even more important as we make things like digital surrogates available. Low quality access copya scan of the original 16mm element. 2</p> <p>Barriers (Challenges)Language and terminology</p> <p>Increase of online resources can lead to decreased interaction with archivists</p> <p>Multitude of online resources can be overwhelming and confusing for users</p> <p>Differences between what content is of vs. what content is about. How do we catalog efficiently and effectively?</p> <p>Frustrations with lack of available content online</p> <p>Issues even more complicated with AV archivesusers generally cant just walk in, ask for everything related to a topic, and flip through pages.</p> <p>Jargon: Finding aids, provenance. Questions from librarians about what a finding aid is. Not all AV archives use finding aids. </p> <p>Easy to forget that many patrons dont know terms that we use often. etc. More complicated when bringing in technical terms associated with moving image archives: difference between film and video becomes important. negative or reversal positive.</p> <p> Different gaugesasking donors if their home movies are 8mm or 16mm (not even the diff between S8 and Reg8, and they often dont know.) </p> <p>Multiple resources available. MIRC: Library homepage, a reference catalog, a DVR, and soon a finding aid repository. Had questions from people I knew personally who were too embarrassed to ask how these all interacted.</p> <p>Lack of understanding of the amount of time that goes into inventorying, processing, describing AV materials. Not just one image or document. Multiple shots. Content often widely varied.</p> <p>Not understanding why we cant just digitize it and put it online.</p> <p>3</p> <p>Possible Solutions?Increased transparency for resourceswhat they are, what information they provide. Difference between catalog record, finding aid, online video with descriptive metadata </p> <p>Instructional tools on how to use online resources</p> <p>Researchers having a starting point</p> <p>Learn more about users, user groups, what they tend to search to direct description and cataloging efforts</p> <p>Obvious contact information (with encouragement to ASK QUESTIONS)</p> <p>Encouraging users to contact the institution can help even experienced users to locate more of what they are looking for. 4</p> <p>Direction of Continued Research</p> <p>Armitage, L. H., & Enser, P. G. (1997). Analysis of user need in image archives. Journal of information science, 23(4), 287-299.</p> <p>Searching and Browsing</p> <p>Part of lit review for future research: study of requests from 7 image archives (mostly still, some moving images) Linda Armitage and Peter Enser examined user need to create better information retrieval techniques. The specializations of the institutions affected the specificity of requests. Art institutions requests of works by artists name.</p> <p>Like Armitage and Enser, research will look into what kinds of users request footage from what kinds of collections. Are there similarities in the terms, subjects, keywords? Is that information we can use to streamline cataloging, including only useful information and leaving out everything else so we can do a little for a lot of material instead of a lot for just a bit. </p> <p>For instance: do we need to describe every home movie in a home movie collection, or will a collection level description including family history, dates, names, relevant subjects or keywords, as well as any recognizable names or highlights suffice?</p> <p>**Literature regarding searching and browsingwhat most people consider searching are often different forms of browsing. Users want to be able to browse. Ill know it when I see it mentality. Several people mentioned ability to view multiple thumbnails or scrub through video. Looking for ways to facilitate online browsing. </p> <p>As we work to make more info accessible to users online, where they may feel like they are on their own in sea of too much (or not enough) information, perhaps the most important thing we can do is continue to encourage researchers to contact archivists or curators who can help them navigate the available resources. No matter how good the info retrieval systems become, the best resource remains the people who care for and know the material.6</p> <p>Amy Ciesielskiciesiel@mailbox.sc.eduMoving Image Research Collections (MIRC)University of South Carolina</p>
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