Communicating Resources to Researchers – Options suggested during session

Firstly, thanks to those Campers who came to my roughly planned session and who gave such great input.

Although the purpose of the session was to talk about this issue across the GLAM sector as a whole, we used Archives New Zealand’s electronic finding aid Archway as a “test case”.

Following is a list of possible solutions the group came up with, ranging from very manual to more automated:

  • Capture contact details of researchers and their interests – contact them when new material becomes available
  • Set up webpage to publicise new material
  • Create an RSS feed of newly added items
  • Something similar to the trove news bot – easy to use, it checks for messages from Twitter to create queries in Trove’s newspaper database, tweeting the result – still requires a pull by researchers
  • Provide ability for researchers to save search criteria
  • Provide functionality to highlight/identify those search results that have been presented to the researcher previously; ability for researcher to filter out these out of the result set

We also discussed other technologies currently in use, or provided, by various institutions:

  • British Library’s Mechanical Curator – undirected, haphazard, unplanned publishing of content
  • Digital NZ’s custom search builder – a tool that allows anyone to create a mini search engine across Digital NZ’s aggregated digital content, also to create an embeddable widget to share the content
  • Academia.edu – allows registered users to add research interests to their profile, and delivers content (research papers, etc.) that has been shared by other registered users and tagged with the chosen research interest phrase.
  • Google Scholar and other library search tools – a post THATCamp investigation of Google Scholar revealed that the tool uses “robots” or “crawlers” to fetch files from websites for inclusion in the search results.  This is the type of thing I was wondering if researchers could create for themselves.

Discussion was had about the need for not only appropriate tags against each item of material so it can be categorised/classified, but also the need for metadata that will enable capture of when records are added / updated so the researcher can filter out those items they may have already seen.

The group also identified some possible funding/resourcing options:

  • Create partnerships with open source development organisations
  • Collaborate with National Library of New Zealand (this option relates specifically to the Archives NZ case)
  • Apply to Internet NZ for funding
  • Create a research question for an information studies masters student
Categories: Funding, General, Research Methods, Session Notes |
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About Susan Jenkins

I'm a relatively new archivist (1 year) with no formal archival or humanities sector education/training, and I'm still getting my head around the complexities of describing public records in our holdings to both maintain trust in the veracity of these records and also to ensure they are easily accessible within the constraints of our online finding aid. After a couple of decades working in administration, I gained an Information Technology degree as a mature student. I then worked as a business analyst in both a global business and a couple of NZ government organisations for a few years before changing career direction yet again. Before registering I did not know who Nicholas Carr or Slavoj Žižek were, and I thank Donelle for bringing them to my attention.