Research Workshop, University of Mid Swden June 2005

Academic researchers in archival science are few and far between, particularly those concerned with archival use and users. Furthermore, they are widely dispersed. As a result, communication and coordination of current and future research, methodologies and research agendas has been at best serendipitous and at worst non-existent. However, as archives are increasingly making their collections accessible on line and making digital surrogates available research on the use and users of archives in the digital age becomes a higher priority. In this context, Anneli Sundqvist of Mid Sweden University organised a three day workshop in Härnösand, Sweden that brought together the leading researchers in the field. The three days of presentations and discussion covered current and future research, theoretical and methodological awareness, descriptive standards and access, and evaluation methods and metrics. By the end of the workshop the group had identified four priority areas for research: OAIS and DIPs, users, metadata and interoperability. A set of common components for each of these research areas has also been developed to further consistency of methods, comparability of results and a coordinated and complimentary approach to the groups research agenda.

1. Brief description/abstract
2. Statement of need/significance/urgency
3. Goals
4. Collaborators/expertise
5. Why will this work?
6. Listing of potential components
7. Mechanism for identifying other partners (libraries, museums?)
8. System building/rapid prototyping
9. Usability testing
10. Outcome/impacts
11. Assessment mechanism for needs

Lastly, the group agreed to work under the AX-SNet banner to further their collaborative research agenda and plan future meetings.

This immensely useful workshop is already bearing fruit. Anderson and Tibbo are working on a revised model for online archive service development. Duff and Ruusalepp have developed a research proposal on OAIS and DIPs and Gilliland-Swetland has initiated collaboration with the proposed 'Irish Politics Digital Archive' at the National University of Ireland.

Ian Anderson, University of Glasgow
Wendy Duff, University of Toronto
Berndt Fredriksson, Stockholms Universitet
Anne Gilliland-Swetland, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies
Raivi Ruusalepp, Estonian Business Archives
Elizabeth Hallam Smith, The National Archives UK
Anneli Sundqvist, Mid Sweden University
Helen Tibbo, University of North Carolina.