chapter  8
Users, Use and Context: Supporting Interaction Between Users and Digital Archives
Pages 22

The first chapter in our third theme, ‘Archival Use and Users’, is essentially a work

in progress: it gives a detailed overview of the author’s doctoral research carried out

over four years, in six countries and engaging over 500 users. The chapter examines

those challenges which users face when searching and using primary sources in a

digital format and identifies the main problems users encounter when searching this

complex archival domain. The lengthy search for a methodological framework is

discussed, as is the development of a contextual model of interaction; other ongoing

studies of the use of technologies to support specific aspects of the interaction process

are also considered. The chapter concludes with a summary of key findings to date

and an examination of how best to manage raised user expectations in the wake of

search engine dominance and TV programmes like Who Do You Think You Are?.