How Researchers Search for Manuscript and Archival Collections

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Ams/Girona*barri Lib]On: 10 October 2014, At: 03:37Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

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    How Researchers Search for Manuscript and ArchivalCollectionsSusan Hamburger MLS and MA and CA and PhD aa Cataloging Services, 126 Paterno Library , The Pennsylvania State University , UniversityPark, PA, 16802 E-mail:Published online: 22 Sep 2008.

    To cite this article: Susan Hamburger MLS and MA and CA and PhD (2004) How Researchers Search for Manuscript and ArchivalCollections, Journal of Archival Organization, 2:1-2, 79-102, DOI: 10.1300/J201v02n01_07

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  • How Researchers Search for Manuscriptand Archival Collections

    Susan Hamburger

    ABSTRACT. By conducting a survey of a cross-section of researchersat six major research libraries, the author sought to determine the useful-ness of specific online resources to find primary sources, to ascertain re-searchers awareness of these sources, and to uncover their discoverymethodology. The survey results demonstrate that the majority of re-searchers continue to utilize traditional methods of uncovering primarysources and do not take full advantage of online resources. The authoroffers four recommendations that archivists can implement to assist re-searchers with online discovery. [Article copies available for a fee from TheHaworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: Website: 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]

    KEYWORDS. Online searching, primary sources, research strategies,archival finding aids, user survey

    INTRODUCTION

    The author undertook this study to determine the searching strategiesof a range of researchers including faculty, graduate and undergraduate

    Susan Hamburger, MLS, MA, CA, PhD, is Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian, Cat-aloging Services, 126 Paterno Library, The Pennsylvania State University, UniversityPark, PA 16802 (E-mail: sxh36@psulias.psu.edu).

    This article is a revised version of a paper presented at a session entitled, UserStudies in the Digital Age, at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archi-vists, Denver, CO, August 31, 2000.

    Journal of Archival Organization, Vol. 2(1/2) 2004http://www.haworthpress.com/web/JAO

    2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J201v02n01_07 79

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  • students, genealogists, and professional authors at six major research li-braries. Because the Internet is a relatively new tool for discovering theexistence of manuscript and archival collections in libraries and ar-chives, the author hoped to determine the usefulness of the Internet andof specific resources available online to find primary sources, to ascer-tain researchers awareness of these resources, and to uncover their dis-covery methodology.

    LITERATURE REVIEW

    A search of library and archival literature revealed several user stud-ies, but none specifically addressing searching behavior in relation tomanuscript and archival collections. Henk J. Voorbij reported on aDutch academic user survey that found that traditional resources (in-cluding tables of contents of periodicals, the online public access cata-log (OPAC), citations, and colleagues) ranked highest, and humanitiesrespondents attached the highest value to books. Voorbij concluded thatrespondents lacked awareness of Internet resources.1 Duke Universitylibrarys user survey project noted that most users said that their firstresource when beginning new research was an expert on the subject,usually a friend, colleague, or contact at a professional meeting. Fac-ulty were least oriented toward computerized access, and were mostlikely to utilize the more esoteric research publications (e.g., manuscriptmaterials and conference proceedings).2 A United Kingdom study, fol-lowing up a 1995-1998 project, determined that the teaching of infor-mation skills in general still relies heavily on traditional, non-webmethods.3 Helen Tibbos research on how well Web search engines re-trieved specific electronic finding aids highlighted poor, at worst, andspotty, at best, retrieval performance.4 An online survey to examine thesearch behavior of users performing subject searches at the Universityof California, Santa Cruz confirmed earlier findings that more experi-enced users are disinclined to perform subject searches. Of those userswho did subject searches, 82 percent had at least one zero-retrievalsearch, but three-quarters of the users obtained useful citations afterpersisting.5

    Considering the exponential growth and permeation of the Internetinto academia, while acknowledging the lag time gap between humani-ties scholars and their scientific colleagues in embracing the new tech-nology, the question remained: are historians and literary scholarsavailing themselves of Internet resources to discover untapped primary

    80 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

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  • materials, or do they remain tied to traditional research methodologyand word-of-mouth? Focusing on users seeking manuscript and archi-val collections, the author surveyed researchers at six repositories withonline finding aids for their manuscript collections.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH PROJECT

    The author designed a survey (Appendix) to ascertain how users lo-cate manuscript collections: finding aids online, catalog records online,paper finding aids, OCLC/RLIN/OPAC (Online Computer LibraryCenter/Research Libraries Information Network/online public accesscatalog), National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC)paper volumes or online, word of mouth, by phone, e-mail, or in-persondrop-in. The author also wanted to know how researchers search: key-word, phrase, Boolean, subject, title, or personal name. Computer-re-lated questions ascertained the frequency of use, comfort level, andpersistence. The survey asked respondents to check a list of ways theylocate manuscripts, rank the usefulness of tools, and evaluate the useful-ness of Internet/online resources when researching manuscript collec-tions. To determine how the respondents searched, they were asked forthe topic of their research, their search strategy, if they were successful,and how they searched with their specified terms. Demographic data in-cluded age, gender, race, and academic status.

    METHODOLOGY

    The author contacted seven east coast repositories6 that are activelymounting a substantial portion of their finding aids on the World WideWeb using EAD- and/or HTML-encoding. Five, plus the authors homeinstitution, agreed to participate in the paper-based user survey.

    In April 2000, the author visited four of the repositories and left fiftyuser surveys at each to distribute and return in a postpaid priority mailenvelope. Representatives from the fifth repository received their sur-veys in person at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference inMay.7 The repositories were asked to make the surveys available totheir clientele in the reading rooms where manuscripts and archivalcollections were requested. Since the surveys were voluntary, the re-sponse rate varied by the willingness of researchers to fill out the formand return it to the desk, the number of researchers during the two-to

    Susan Hamburger 81

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  • three-week survey period, and the aggressiveness of reference staff toask researchers to complete the survey. Of 300 surveys, the author re-ceived 131 from the six repositories, a 43.6% return rate (Table 1).

    USER SURVEY

    Respondents were almost equally representative of faculty, graduateand undergraduate students, and other researchers (genealogists, pro-fessional authors, and independent researchers) (Table 2). The respon-dents ranged in age groups from 17-22 to 66-80 (Table 3). The majorityof respondents were male Caucasians, followed by female Caucasians,with a handful of African-Americans and Hispanics; Asians, if they par-ticipated, did not self-identify (Table 4). The author hoped the broadsample would yield meaningful data and comparative results.

    Two of the key overarching themes the survey attempted to answerwere: What is the search strategy that researchers follow when seekingmanuscripts and archives online? and, Do researchers actually take

    82 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    TABLE 1. Number of Responses by Institution

    REPOSITORY SURVEYS

    Duke University 12

    Harvard University 17

    Library of Congress 50

    New York Public Library 20

    Pennsylvania State University 17

    University of Virginia 15

    TOTAL 131

    TABLE 2. Respondents by Status

    Faculty Graduate Students Undergraduate Students Other Researchers

    41 33 17 41

    TABLE 3. Age of Respondents

    Age 17-22 23-30 31-40 41-50 51-65 66-80

    Respondents 17 23 29 26 21 5

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  • advantage of controlled vocabulary or do they use a less precise key-word search? The survey responses indicate a disconnect betweenknowledge of computers and the use of computers to aid in discoveryfor these materials among all levels of researchers across institutions.While 92 percent use the computer daily (Table 5) and 75 percent claimthey can navigate through the online environment easily (Table 6), themajority of them locate manuscripts from footnotes in articles or books(Table 7, part e). Even though they indicate they use the librarys onlinecatalog and the librarys web site, their responses on the surveys indicatethat they are still guessing which library to contact and searching onecatalog at a time. They are not availing themselves of new online meth-ods of finding collections of materials in repositories whose holdings ei-ther do not appear in the older printed sources or who have recentlyacquired collections. They appear ignorant of OCLC and RLIN as ac-cess tools, and are almost universally unfamiliar with ArchivesUSA(Table 8). Twenty-six checked that they search the paper copy ofNUCMC that has been superseded by ArchivesUSA online (Table 7,part e). Faculty responses (Table 7, part a) indicate the traditional re-search methodology, while the computer-savvy undergraduates unsuc-cessfully try to find manuscripts via Internet search engines. As HelenTibbo pointed out, the Internet search engines just do not do the job; shetook known finding aids and tried to find them using several commer-cial search engines and got terrible results.8

    When ranking the order of usefulness of specific tools, seventy per-cent chose the online catalog, fifty-eight percent chose paper finding

    Susan Hamburger 83

    TABLE 4. Race and Gender of Respondents

    Cases

    Valid

    N Percent

    Male African-American 3 2.3%

    Male Caucasian 60 45.8%

    Male Hispanic 3 2.3%

    Male, no race response 4 3.1%

    Female Caucasian 43 32.8%

    Female Hispanic 2 1.5%

    Female, no race response 6 4.6%

    No gender response, Caucasian 1 .8%

    No gender or race response 9 6.9%

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  • aids, fifty-seven percent selected the manuscript card catalog, andfifty-four percent chose the Special Collections web page (Table 8).Eighty-nine percent of the respondents found what they were lookingfor. Seventy-eight percent did a keyword search, while thirty-one per-cent searched for a personal name, and twenty-three percent used a sub-ject search. Unfortunately, many of the respondents did not followdirections and write in the terms they used so it is difficult to analyze theaccuracy of their searches. In the cases when they did provide the searchterms, it is a wonder that they found what they wanted.

    For example, one researcher at the Library of Congress indicated atopic of National Council of Jewish Women concerning German-Jew-ish refugees, 1933-1950s. The search strategy moved from checkingfootnotes to NUCMC, e-mail, and then an onsite visit. But this personsearched the librarys online catalog for the National Council of JewishWomen as a title. Duplicating this search retrieved zero hits. However,when the author queried the same online catalog in a name browsesearch, the phrase yielded twenty-five records, one of which is for theRecords of the National Council of Jewish Women, 1893-1989 (bulk1940-1981). When a Duke respondent looked for information on the na-val history of the Civil War, he separately searched individual libraryonline catalogs. His subject, Red River campaign, is actually Red RiverExpedition, 1864 in the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH),thus explaining why he did not find anything by searching Red Rivercampaign.

    There seems to be a preponderant dependence on personal names evenif the research is topical. For example, a Library of Congress researcherwas looking for the U.S. Navys economic impact on Wilmington, NorthCarolina during the Civil War and chose to look up three personalnames: S. P. Lee, David Dixon, and Louis M. Goldsborough. Only the

    84 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    TABLE 5. Computer Use

    Use Computer Daily Use Computer Weekly Use ComputerOccasionally

    Use Computer Rarely

    120 2 2 6

    TABLE 6. Comfort Level with Computers

    Use only under duress Can find things with help Not sure how I found things Navigate easily

    4 8 26 93

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  • Susan Hamburger 85

    TABLE 7. How Manuscripts Are Located

    (a) Faculty

    Responses NoResponse

    Total

    N Percent N Percent NTelephone Special Collections 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131Send e-mail request for information 11 8.4% 120 91.6% 131Libraries online catalog 26 19.8% 105 80.2% 131Libraries web site 21 16.0% 110 84.0% 131Search paper copy of NUCMC 10 7.6% 121 92.4% 131Search ArchivesUSA 4 3.1% 127 96.9% 131Use search engine (AltaVista, Yahoo, etc.) 7 5.3% 124 94.7% 131Search OCLC or RLIN 13 9.9% 118 90.1% 131Ask a colleague or friend 14 10.7% 117 89.3% 131From footnotes in articles or books 27 20.6% 104 79.4% 131In-person visit 26 19.8% 105 80.2% 131Ask the librarian/staff at the reference desk 17 13.0% 114 87.0% 131Manuscripts card catalog 15 11.5% 116 88.5% 131Browse paper version of finding aids 17 13.0% 114 87.0% 131

    (b) Graduate Students

    Responses NoResponse

    Total

    N Percent N Percent NTelephone Special Collections 3 2.3% 128 97.7% 131Send e-mail request for information 7 5.3% 124 94.7% 131Libraries online catalog 22 16.8% 109 83.2% 131Libraries web site 15 11.5% 116 88.5% 131Search paper copy of NUCMC 7 5.3% 124 94.7% 131Search ArchivesUSA 4 3.1% 127 96.9% 131Use search engine (AltaVista, Yahoo, etc.) 3 2.3% 128 97.7% 131Search OCLC or RLIN 7 5.3% 124 94.7% 131Ask a colleague or friend 12 9.2% 119 90.8% 131From footnotes in articles or books 24 18.3% 107 81.7% 131In-person visit 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131Ask the librarian/staff at the reference desk 11 8.4% 120 91.6% 131Manuscripts card catalog 10 7.6% 121 92.4% 131Browse paper version of finding aids 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131

    (c) Undergraduate Students

    Responses NoResponse

    Total

    N Percent N Percent NLibraries online catalog 16 12.2% 115 87.8% 131Libraries web site 7 5.3% 124 94.7% 131Search OCLC or RLIN 1 .8% 130 99.2% 131Ask a colleague or friend 2 1.5% 129 98.5% 131From footnotes in articles or books 5 3.8% 126 96.2% 131

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  • 86 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    TABLE 7 (continued)

    (c) Undergraduate Students

    Responses NoResponse

    Total

    N Percent N Percent NIn-person visit 5 3.8% 126 96.2% 131Ask the librarian/staff at the reference desk 6 4.6% 125 95.4% 131Manuscripts card catalog 2 1.5% 129 98.5% 131Browse paper version of finding aids 2 1.5% 129 98.5% 131

    (d) Other Researchers

    Responses NoResponses

    Total

    N Percent N Percent NTelephone Special Collections 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131Send e-mail request for information 9 6.9% 122 93.1% 131Libraries online catalog 25 19.1% 106 80.9% 131Libraries web site 17 13.0% 114 87.0% 131Search paper copy of NUCMC 10 7.6% 121 92.4% 131Search ArchivesUSA 7 5.3% 124 94.7% 131Use search engine (AltaVista, Yahoo, etc.) 9 6.9% 122 93.1% 131Search OCLC or RLIN 9 6.9% 122 93.1% 131Ask a colleague or friend 13 9.9% 118 90.1% 131From footnotes in articles or books 27 20.6% 104 79.4% 131In-person visit 23 17.6% 108 82.4% 131Ask the librarian/staff at the reference desk 18 13.7% 113 86.3% 131Manuscripts card catalog 13 9.9% 118 90.1% 131Browse paper version of finding aids 18 13.7% 113 86.3% 131

    (e) All Respondents

    Responses NoResponses

    Total

    N Percent N Percent NTelephone Special Collections 18 13.7% 113 86.3% 131Send e-mail request for information 26 19.8% 105 80.2% 131Libraries online catalog 89 67.9% 42 32.1% 131Libraries web site 60 45.8% 71 54.2% 131Search paper copy of NUCMC 26 19.8% 105 80.2% 131Search ArchivesUSA 15 11.5% 116 88.5% 131Use search engine (AltaVista, Yahoo, etc.) 19 14.5% 112 85.5% 131Search OCLC or RLIN 29 22.1% 102 77.9% 131Ask a colleague or friend 40 30.5% 91 69.5% 131From footnotes in articles or books 82 62.6% 49 37.4% 131In-person visit 61 46.6% 70 53.4% 131Ask the librarian/staff at the reference desk 51 38.9% 80 61.1% 131Manuscripts card catalog 39 29.8% 92 70.2% 131Browse paper version of finding aids 44 33.6% 87 66.4% 131

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  • Susan Hamburger 87

    TABLE 8. How Tools Are Ranked for Usefulness

    (a) Faculty

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Manuscripts card catalog 23 17.6% 108 82.4% 131

    Paper finding aids 25 19.1% 106 80.9% 131

    Libraries online catalog 29 22.1% 102 77.9% 131

    Special Collections web page 20 15.3% 111 84.7% 131

    NUCMC 13 9.9% 118 90.1% 131

    OCLC 12 9.2% 119 90.8% 131

    RLIN 11 8.4% 120 91.6% 131

    ArchivesUSA 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131

    Printed catalogs 2 1.5% 129 98.5% 131

    (b) Graduate Students

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Manuscripts card catalog 18 13.7% 113 86.3% 131

    Paper finding aids 17 13.0% 114 87.0% 131

    Libraries online catalog 24 18.3% 107 81.7% 131

    Special Collections web page 19 14.5% 112 85.5% 131

    NUCMC 16 12.2% 115 87.8% 131

    OCLC 14 10.7% 117 89.3% 131

    RLIN 17 13.0% 114 87.0% 131

    ArchivesUSA 9 6.9% 122 93.1% 131

    Printed catalogs 9 6.9% 122 93.1% 131

    (c) Undergraduate Students

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Manuscripts card catalog 12 9.2% 119 90.8% 131

    Paper finding aids 11 8.4% 120 91.6% 131

    Libraries online catalog 16 12.2% 115 87.8% 131

    Special Collections web page 12 9.2% 119 90.8% 131

    NUCMC 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131

    OCLC 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131

    RLIN 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131

    ArchivesUSA 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131

    Printed catalogs 4 3.1% 127 96.9% 131

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  • Goldsborough search produced a catalog record for his papers that didnot indicate anything involving Wilmington. The finding aid for theGoldsborough papers is not online, so a more in-depth online search ofthe finding aid to determine if there is anything pertinent to Wilmingtonwas not possible.

    The comments section yielded helpful suggestions. When askedwhat was missing, one researcher wrote, description of all archivalholdings, another wanted an easier-to-use guide to access/locatemanuscripts, and a third wanted manuscripts available online. An-other noted, online find aids/guides are the most helpful to narrowing

    88 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    TABLE 8 (continued)

    (d) Other Researchers

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Manuscripts card catalog 23 17.6% 108 82.4% 131

    Paper finding aids 24 18.3% 107 81.7% 131

    Libraries online catalog 24 18.3% 107 81.7% 131

    Special Collections web page 21 16.0% 110 84.0% 131

    NUCMC 19 14.5% 112 85.5% 131

    OCLC 15 11.5% 116 88.5% 131

    RLIN 15 11.5% 116 88.5% 131

    ArchivesUSA 14 10.7% 117 89.3% 131

    Printed catalogs 1 .8% 130 99.2% 131

    (e) All Respondents

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Manuscripts card catalog 75 57.3% 56 42.7% 131

    Paper finding aids 76 58.0% 55 42.0% 131

    Libraries online catalog 92 70.2% 39 29.8% 131

    Special Collections web page 71 54.2% 60 45.8% 131

    NUCMC 55 42.0% 76 58.0% 131

    OCLC 48 36.6% 83 63.4% 131

    RLIN 50 38.2% 81 61.8% 131

    ArchivesUSA 38 29.0% 93 71.0% 131

    Printed catalogs 16 12.2% 115 87.8% 131

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  • search. One thought, better connections need to be made betweenmanuscript collection/rare books when the items (pamphlets) are dupli-cates. Still another pleaded that paper copies of the finding aids con-tinue to be available; sometimes these are faster and easier for peopleto useand a godsend when computers are down.

    CONCLUSION

    Although there was a 43.6 percent return rate on the surveys, many ofthe respondents failed to answer the most important questions abouttheir search strategy, how they searched, and what terms they used.From the limited number of responses, it appears that until librariansand archivists better educate researchers on how to search for manu-script materials, they will continue to rely on personal names as the en-try point for topical queries. While this is perfectly acceptable forliterary manuscript collections, historical collections require a more so-phisticated approach and search strategy. The majority of researchersanswering this survey continues to utilize traditional methods of uncov-ering primary sources and do not take full advantage of the online re-sources such as ArchivesUSA, OCLC, RLIN, and Archival Resources.Tables 9 through 14 provide a statistical breakdown on how respon-dents ranked the usefulness of various online resources, their searchingpreferences, and course assignments utilizing manuscript collections.At this stage in providing online access to finding aids, archivists andlibrarians efforts are underutilized.

    Susan Hamburger 89

    TABLE 9. How Most Helpful Aspect of Web Page Is Chosen

    (a) Faculty

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Link to libraries online catalog 9 6.9% 122 93.1% 131

    Specific subject guide to the collections 5 3.8% 126 96.2% 131

    Finding aids in HTML format 5 3.8% 126 96.2% 131

    Other 1 .8% 130 99.2% 131

    Searching full text of finding aids 2 1.5% 129 98.5%

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  • 90 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    TABLE 9 (continued)

    (b) Graduate Students

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Link to libraries online catalog 5 3.8% 126 96.2% 131

    Specific subject guide to the collections 4 3.1% 127 96.9% 131

    Finding aids in HTML format 3 2.3% 128 97.7% 131

    Other 1 .8% 130 99.2% 131

    Searching full text of finding aids 2 1.5% 129 98.5% 131

    (c) Undergraduate Students

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Link to libraries online catalog 4 3.1% 127 96.9% 131

    Specific subject guide to the collections 3 2.3% 128 97.7% 131

    Searching full text of finding aids 1 .8% 130 99.2% 131

    (d) Other Researchers

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Link to libraries online catalog 8 6.1% 123 93.9% 131

    Specific subject guide to the collections 5 3.8% 126 96.2% 131

    Finding aids in HTML format 1 .8% 130 99.2% 131

    Searching full text of finding aids 1 .8% 130 99.2% 131

    (e) All Respondents

    Cases

    Valid Missing Total

    N Percent N Percent N

    Link to libraries online catalog 26 19.8% 105 80.2% 131

    Specific subject guide to the collections 17 13.0% 114 87.0% 131

    Finding aids in HTML format 9 6.9% 122 93.1% 131

    Other 2 1.5% 129 98.5% 131

    Searching full text of finding aids 6 4.6% 125 95.4% 131

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  • RECOMMENDATIONS

    One key to ensuring that researchers find what they are looking for isto educate them on how to search all the available tools, especially online.

    Include keywords in summary note. To accommodate the prepon-derance of researchers relying on keyword access, catalogers caninclude common keywords in the catalog record summary noteand in context in the finding aid scope and content note and seriessummary notes.

    Use a controlled vocabulary. Even though a majority of research-ers do not use Library of Congress Subject Headings, a controlledvocabulary is still necessary for consistency. They may not takefull advantage of it now, but providing the structure ensures it willbe there when they need it.

    Online tutorial. Mounting an online tutorial on each repositorysweb site on how to search for manuscript collections will aid thoseinclined to seek assistance.

    Presentations at history conferences. For those who do not look on-line for help, or even go online, alternative methods need to be ex-plored. Every semester for three years the author taught a three-hourSeminar in Electronic Resources: Literary and Historical Manu-scripts in the library. Attendance ranged from two to twelve gradu-ate students from several disciplines. During that time only onefaculty member attended and subsequently asked for a separatesession for her class the next semester. If archivists are to intro-duce faculty to the breadth of online resources, one approach maybe to bring the information to them at their conferences. A panel ofarchivists and/or librarians who can demonstrate the benefits of,and search strategies for, finding archives and manuscript col-lections electronically will provide a service beyond our owninstitutions and reach an audience who needs this information.Researchers need to know not only what sources to use, but how touse them. If we cannot get them into our repositories for biblio-graphic instruction, then we must go to them. Faculty teach whatthey know and if they do not know about online sources, their stu-dents research skills will suffer. As was said in the movie Field ofDreams, If you build it they will come. In this case, archivistsand librarians need to provide a roadmap and explicit directionsfor the stubborn ones who will not ask directions.

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  • 92 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    TABLE 10. Ranked Usefulness of Internet/Online Resources (1 = Not Useful,5 = Very Useful)

    Electroniclibrary

    catalogs

    Digitallibraries of

    images,documents

    ArchivesUSA Other libraryand archives

    web pages

    Internetsearch

    engines

    Electronicreference

    requestforms

    Valid 95 78 51 80 91 58

    Missing 36 53 80 51 40 73

    Subjectguides or

    bibliographies

    Informationabout events

    (lectures,conferences,

    etc.)

    Onlineexhibits

    Links toother

    libraries,archives,

    specialcollections

    Full-textof scholarly

    articles(such asJSTOR)

    RLGsArchival

    Resources

    Valid 73 66 66 82 66 47

    Missing 58 65 65 49 65 84

    Electronic library catalogs

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 4 3.1 4.2 4.2

    2 7 5.3 7.4 11.6

    3 5 3.8 5.3 16.8

    4 17 13.0 17.9 34.7

    5 62 47.3 65.3 100.0

    Total 95 72.5 100.0

    Missing System 36 27.5

    Total 131 100.0

    Digital libraries of images, documents

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 7 5.3 9.0 9.0

    2 8 6.1 10.3 19.2

    3 20 15.3 25.6 44.9

    4 15 11.5 19.2 64.1

    5 28 21.4 35.9 100.0

    Total 78 59.5 100.0

    Missing System 53 40.5

    Total 131 100.0

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  • Susan Hamburger 93

    Other library and archives web pages

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 2 1.5 2.5 2.5

    2 3 2.3 3.8 6.3

    3 16 12.2 20.0 26.3

    4 23 17.6 28.8 55.0

    5 36 27.5 45.0 100.0

    Total 80 61.1 100.0

    Missing System 51 38.9

    Total 131 100.0

    Internet search engines

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 3 2.3 3.3 3.3

    2 16 12.2 17.6 20.9

    3 34 26.0 37.4 58.2

    4 20 15.3 22.0 80.2

    5 18 13.7 19.8 100.0

    Total 91 69.5 100.0

    Missing System 40 30.5

    Total 131 100.0

    Electronic reference request forms

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 5 3.8 8.6 8.6

    2 17 13.0 29.3 37.9

    3 18 13.7 31.0 69.0

    4 9 6.9 15.5 84.5

    5 9 6.9 15.5 100.0

    Total 58 44.3 100.0

    Missing System 73 55.7

    Total 131 100.0

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  • 94 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    TABLE 10 (continued)

    Subject guides/bibliographies

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 4 3.1 5.5 5.5

    2 5 3.8 6.8 12.3

    3 17 13.0 23.3 35.6

    4 23 17.6 31.5 67.1

    5 24 18.3 32.9 100.0

    Total 73 55.7 100.0

    Missing System 58 44.3

    Total 131 100.0

    Information about events (lectures, conferences, etc.)

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 12 9.2 18.2 18.2

    2 18 13.7 27.3 45.5

    3 23 17.6 34.8 80.3

    4 6 4.6 9.1 89.4

    5 7 5.3 10.6 100.0

    Total 66 50.4 100.0

    Missing System 65 49.6

    Total 131 100.0

    Online exhibits

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 9 6.9 13.6 13.6

    2 18 13.7 27.3 40.9

    3 19 14.5 28.8 69.7

    4 11 8.4 16.7 86.4

    5 9 6.9 13.6 100.0

    Total 66 50.4 100.0

    Missing System 65 49.6

    Total 131 100.0

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  • Susan Hamburger 95

    Links to other libraries, archives, special collections

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 5 3.8 6.1 6.1

    2 2 1.5 2.4 8.5

    3 12 9.2 14.6 23.2

    4 35 26.7 42.7 65.9

    5 28 21.4 34.1 100.0

    Total 82 62.6 100.0

    Missing System 49 37.4

    Total 131 100.0

    Full-text of scholarly articles (such as JSTOR)

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 3 2.3 4.5 4.5

    2 4 3.1 6.1 10.6

    3 17 13.0 25.8 36.4

    4 15 11.5 22.7 59.1

    5 27 20.6 40.9 100.0

    Total 66 50.4 100.0

    Missing System 65 49.6

    Total 131 100.0

    RLGs Archival Resources

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent CumulativePercent

    Valid 1 2 1.5 4.3 4.3

    2 2 1.5 4.3 8.5

    3 21 16.0 44.7 53.2

    4 11 8.4 23.4 76.6

    5 11 8.4 23.4 100.0

    Total 47 35.9 100.0

    Missing System 84 64.1

    Total 131 100.0

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  • 96 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    TABLE 11. Choices of Search Type

    Keyword Phrase Boolean(and, or)

    Subject Title Personalname

    41 8 10 31 22 42

    TABLE 12. Number of Screens Viewed

    1 Screen 2 Screens 3 Screens More than 3screens

    All Screens

    9 8 6 16 15

    TABLE 13. Computer Search Strategy

    One or two hitson first screen only

    Several hitson first 1-3 screens

    Persistent and lookat every screen

    7 37 82

    TABLE 14. Faculty Course Assignment of Manuscript Collections

    Do your students use manuscript collections for course assignments?

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent

    No 21 16.0 80.8

    Yes 5 3.8 19.2

    Total responses 26 19.8 100.0

    No response 105 80.2

    Totals 131 100.0

    Did you schedule an orientation session for the class with a staff member?

    Frequency Percent Valid Percent

    No 6 4.6 75.0

    Yes 2 1.5 25.0

    Total responses 8 6.1 100.0

    No response 123 93.9

    Totals 131 100.0

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  • NOTES

    1. Henk J. Voorbij, Searching Scientific Information on the Internet: A Dutch Ac-ademic User Survey, Journal of the American Society for Information Science 50(May 15, 1999): 602 and 604.

    2. Kenneth W. Berger and Richard W. Hines, What Does the User Really Want?The Library User Survey Project at Duke University, Journal of Academic Librarian-ship 20 (Nov. 1994): 307 and 308.

    3. Helen Rhodes and Jacqueline Chelin, Web-based User Education in UK Uni-versity LibrariesResults of a Survey, Program 34 (January 2000): 67.

    4. Helen R. Tibbo and Lokman I. Meho, Finding Finding Aids on the World WideWeb, American Archivist 64 (Spring/Summer 2001): 77.

    5. Terry Ellen Ferl and Larry Millsap, The Knuckle-Crackers Dilemma: A Trans-action Log Study of OPAC Subject Searching, Information Technology and Libraries15 (June 1996): 81, 85, 90.

    6. Library of Congress, New York Public Library, University of Virginia, andDuke, Harvard, and Penn State universities. Yale and Cornell, selected to be among re-positories included in the project, did not participate.

    7. Concurrent on-site interviews with manuscripts cataloging staff about their prac-tice of including or excluding Library of Congress subject headings in EAD findingaids forms the basis of an article in process.

    8. Tibbo and Meho, Finding Finding Aids on the World Wide Web, 61-77.

    Received: March 16, 2003Revised: October 7, 2003

    Accepted: October 7, 2003

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  • APPENDIX

    The Special Collections Library at The Pennsylvania State University meets the needs of its users byproviding a variety of ways to gain access to the archives and manuscripts collections. We would like toenhance our understanding of how patrons use the resources we provideboth on the Internet and inthe Reading Roomto perform their research. The results of the following survey will be used toimprove our cataloging procedures. Your responses are confidential. Completed surveys may bedropped off at the Special Collections reference desk or mailed via campus mail to: Sue Hamburger,E104 Paterno Library by May 5, 2000. Your participation is voluntary and you may decline to answerspecific questions. Completing and returning the survey is considered implied consent.

    1. Please check the category that best describes you:

    PSU Faculty/Staff Faculty/Staff from another university

    PSU Graduate Student Graduate Student from another university

    PSU Undergraduate Student Undergraduate Student from another university

    PSU Alumni Professional Author

    Genealogist Other (please specify)______________________

    2. How would you evaluate your computer use?

    Daily Weekly Occasionally Rarely

    3. How would you describe your comfort level with computers?

    I use only under duress

    I can find things with help (librarian/archivist or online/written instruction sheet)

    I can find things but Im not always sure how I did what I did

    I can navigate through the online environment easily

    4. How would you describe your computer search strategy?

    I look at one or two hits on the first screen only

    I look at several hits on the first 1-3 screens

    I am persistent and continue to look at every screen to find what I want

    5. About how many times per semester do you use our manuscript collections?

    This is my first visit 5-10

    1-5 More than 10

    98 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

    MANUSCRIPT RESEARCHER SURVEY

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  • 6. How do you locate manuscripts that you want to use? Check all that apply:

    Telephone Special Collections

    Send e-mail request for information

    Libraries online catalog

    Libraries web site

    Search paper copy of NUCMC (National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections)

    Search ArchivesUSA

    Use search engine (AltaVista, Yahoo, etc.)

    Search OCLC or RLIN

    Ask a colleague or friend

    From footnotes in articles or books

    In-person visit

    Ask the librarian/staff at the reference desk

    Manuscripts card catalog

    Browse paper version of finding aids

    7. Please rank order each of the following tools in order of usefulness from 1 to 8 (1 = most useful /8 = least useful). Do not duplicate numbers.

    ___ Manuscripts card catalog

    ___ Paper finding aids

    ___ LIAS the Cat (PSU Libraries online catalog)

    ___ Special Collections web page

    ___ NUCMC (National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections)

    ___ OCLC

    ___ RLIN

    ___ ArchivesUSA

    8. Have you ever used PSUs Special Collections web page to research our manuscripts holdings?

    Yes No

    9. If yes, what aspect of the web page was most helpful in your research?

    The link to LIAS the Cat (PSU Libraries online catalog)

    Specific subject guide to the collections (i.e., women authors, theater history, etc.)

    Finding aids in HTML format

    Other (please specify) ________________________________________________

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  • APPENDIX (continued)

    10. What was missing that you would like to see? _______________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________

    11. If you are a PSU faculty member, do your students use our manuscript collections to completeassignments for your courses?

    Yes No

    12. If yes, did you schedule an orientation session for the class with a Special Collections staff mem-ber?

    Yes No

    13. How useful do you find the following Internet/online resources when researching manuscript col-lections outside of PSUs?

    1 = not useful / 5 = very useful

    Electronic library catalogs (like LIAS the Cat) 1 2 3 4 5

    Digital libraries of images, documents 1 2 3 4 5

    ArchivesUSA 1 2 3 4 5

    Other library and archives web pages 1 2 3 4 5

    Internet search engines 1 2 3 4 5

    Electronic reference request forms 1 2 3 4 5

    Subject guides/bibliographies 1 2 3 4 5

    Information about events (lectures, conferences, etc.) 1 2 3 4 5

    Online exhibits 1 2 3 4 5

    Links to other libraries, archives, special collections 1 2 3 4 5

    Full-text of scholarly articles (such as JSTOR) 1 2 3 4 5

    RLGs Archival Resources (finding aids online) 1 2 3 4 5

    100 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

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  • 14. What manuscript/archival research are you doing today? Topic(s):__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    15. When you start to do research what steps do you take to find the manuscripts you need? What isyour search strategy?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    16. Did you find what you were looking for today?

    Yes No

    17. If not, why not?

    Finding aid did not provide enough information to make a judgment if the collection was relevant

    Not enough detail in the catalog record to know if collection was relevant

    No subject access

    Online search produced too many hits

    Other (please specify) _________________________________________________

    18. If yes, where:

    Manuscript collections here Manuscript collections elsewhere

    Library/archives homepage Personal web page

    Commercial web page Other (please specify) ________________

    19. How did you search? (Check all that apply.) And what search term(s) or phrase(s) did you use?

    Keyword(s): ________________________________________________________

    Phrase(s): __________________________________________________________

    Boolean (and, or): ____________________________________________________

    Subject(s): __________________________________________________________

    Title(s): ____________________________________________________________

    Personal name(s): ____________________________________________________

    20. Were you looking for a collection

    at this library another specific library anywhere

    Susan Hamburger 101

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  • APPENDIX (continued)

    21. How many hits did you get?

    0 1-10 10-30 30+

    22. How many screens did you look at?

    1 2 3 More than 3 All

    23. Please write any other comments you care to make:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

    Demographics:

    24. Age: 17-22 41-50 26. Race: African-American

    23-30 51-65 Asian

    31-40 66-80 Caucasian

    Hispanic

    25. Sex: Male Female Thank you for your time.

    102 JOURNAL OF ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION

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