Project Reports and Resources

2020-2023 Resources
Research findings

Research Findings Reports

OCLC published five reports comprising the complete set of research findings:  

  • Summary of ResearchSynthesizes findings from across all research activities on the NAFAN project
  • Pop-up Survey—Summarizes results from a national survey of online archive users on their search behavior, information needs, and demographic characteristics
  • User Interviews—Details findings from interviews with archival aggregation end users on their information needs and information-seeking behavior 
  • Focus Group Interviews—Shares outcomes from focus group discussions with archivists to examine their needs for describing collections and contributing description to an archival aggregation 
  • EAD Analysis—Analyzes EAD data as raw material for building a finding aid aggregation by looking for common data structures present and probing for gaps that could impede user discovery  

EAD Data Dashboard

This dashboard provides a summary of finding aid data, represented within US-based regional/state finding aid aggregations as of November 2020-January 2021. Twelve NAFAN partners made their finding aids available to the project for quantitative analysis, producing a total of over 145 thousand documents. The finding aids were provided in the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format. EAD is an XML-based standard for describing collections of archival materials.

Quantitative Data Analysis Projects

In addition to the summary of finding aid data available through the EAD Data Dashboard, OCLC Research is conducting these studies that will gather and analyze EAD tag and attribute value usage patterns and focus on specific research questions. 

EAD Data Dashboard and Quantitative Data Analysis Projects

See also OCLC Research Presentations and Blog posts for work in-progress highlights.

Community workshop findings

Shift Collective (2022) “Increasing Discovery of Archives: A Project to Provide Better Pathways to Archival Records in Cultural Heritage Collections" 

Shift Collective staged a two-day workshop in December 2021, “Increasing National Discovery of Archives,” inviting the input of people whose work is centered on community-based cultural memory projects, to inform NAFAN’S development and implementation of a national network of archival descriptions. The workshop also aimed to identify ways that NAFAN might offer services, support, and advocacy to community-based archives, or might help meet the needs of researchers to better discover and access those collections. This report summarizes input from participants who attended the workshop. 

NAFAN demonstration prototype
2018-2019 Background Resources

Finding Aid Aggregation at a Crossroads (May 2019)

This report represents the first phase of the 2018-19 "Toward a National Archival Finding Aid Network" planning initiative. Here, we are developing a collective understanding of the current landscape of archival description -- and in particular, finding aid aggregations -- as background for an exploration of how best to provide access to archival collections, ensure the long-term sustainability of that access, and plan for future developments in this space.

Symposium summary (June 2019)

This document summarizes key discussion points and outcomes from a 1-day planning symposium, hosted by the University of California Riverside Library.

Toward a National Archival Finding Aid Network - From Planning Initiative to Project and Program: An Action Plan (October 2019)

This action plan is a key deliverable of the "Toward a National Archival Finding Aid Network" planning initiative, drawing directly on the symposium outcomes. The plan was prepared by a Task Force comprising representatives from the Core Partner group of aggregators, who contributed time between July-September 2019 to formulate and develop these recommendations. At the heart of the action plan are recommendations for and principles to guide next steps to implement a national-level finding aid network. The Task Force recommends a phased, incremental approach that moves this effort from a research and demonstration project to a program; is informed by a research agenda; and (from the beginning) includes work to establish business and governance models that fit the infrastructure and service model.

Additional Reference Resources

The following materials comprise working documents: