A little over a year ago, we developed a new feature in Discovery (our catalogue) that allows our users to add their own tags to our records. Tags are a way for you to add more descriptive metadata to our records to make them more findable.
Will of William Snelgrave, Gentleman of Stepney, Middlesex (catalogue ref: PROB 11/732/98)
When we launched the feature we weren’t really sure how our users would engage with it, or what types of tags they would attach to our records. There are now over 5,000 tags attached to more than 7,500 documents, and that number is growing daily. People tag for all sorts of reasons – to bookmark records they are interested in, to help improve the findability of poorly described records, for research purposes and for fun.
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Regular readers of this blog will have seen Ruth Roberts’ post last week about The National Archives’ research strategy. One current research priority is to find out more about The National Archives’ users, particularly in online contexts.
I am one of the research students currently being sponsored by The National Archives, and I’m hoping that you can help me out with this work.
My research focuses on participatory culture in archives, specifically on the kinds of online contribution initiatives we’ve seen piloted by The National Archives over the last four or five years: wikis, social tagging and commenting, and collaborative online volunteering or ‘crowdsourcing’. If you are a user of The National Archives’ website (whether or not you visit The National Archives in person) and have an opinion about participatory archives, I’d be pleased to hear from you.
The research will be carried out in two parts. The first is a very brief online survey. It would really help me if readers of this blog and visitors to The National Archives’ website could fill this in. There are just 7 simple tick box or yes/no questions, plus a couple of opportunities for you to submit comments. It should take you no more than a couple of minutes to complete.
You can complete the survey anonymously, but it also asks you to leave your name and a contact email address if you would be willing to take part in a follow-up interview.