Comma

Changing access needs in the hybrid archive

Comma (2015), 2015, (2), 39–48.

Abstract

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) is a large, public, archive research facility. It is also an archive with a well-established digital presence on a number of platforms, most notably a large set of records fully digitized and available via a third party website and a large number of digitized images available via a self-maintained database. These records cover approximately 5% of all records held at LMA, though they are also the most popular records. While much has been written on the digital and the process around digitization, it is notable that there is not much writing on the experience of providing access to an archive that is not wholly digitized, but one where records are available in a range of physical and digital forms. At LMA this process has not only changed the institution, but has also altered user expectations and behaviour. Driven by this “push” factor, LMA is moving away its traditional research centre role and into a new role. This article seeks to examine these requirements of the “new” users, and what the new role as a “mixed” archive means in the context of providing fully rounded access to those records. At a time of general budget cutbacks in the UK public sector the realistic changes that can be made by a public service to adapt to this new environment are considered.

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Author details

Luck, David