Building a National Finding Aid Network: we need your help!

Speech bubbles illustration from Noun Project

As a part of our work on the Building a National Finding Aid Network project, OCLC Research will be conducting focus group interviews with archival practitioners in order to better understand the needs of potential contributors to a national aggregation of archival description. (If you’d like a refresher on the project and OCLC Research’s role, my colleague Merrilee wrote a great summary post back in November.)

If you work with archival collections in a library, archive, museum, or other community or cultural heritage setting, we would love to hear from you. We are asking volunteers to fill out a form with some basic information, we will then use that information to help assemble our focus groups. It is unlikely that we’ll interview everyone who volunteers. We will be assembling groups with an eye toward representing different roles and responsibilities, archive types, and institutions that do and do not currently participate in an archival aggregation. We are looking for a wide variety of perspectives, so we encourage you to volunteer if you work with archives in any way and are willing to participate.

Call for focus group interview participants: help us improve access to archival collections

Dear Colleagues,

OCLC Research, California Digital Library, and University of Virginia would like to invite you to participate in a virtual focus group interview as part of the IMLS-funded project (LG-246349-OLS-20), “Building a National Finding Aid Network” (NAFAN). This is an opportunity for you to share your knowledge and experiences creating archival description, publishing finding aids on the web and/or participating in an aggregation of archival description, and facilitating access to archival materials. We welcome participation from anyone with experience creating archival description, supporting online discovery of and access to archival description and collections, or administering an archives program or memory collection, and are eager to include participants with varying experience, expertise, and representing a wide array of archival collections and institutions. Please feel free to share with colleagues that may be interested in participating.


The focus group interviews will last approximately 90 minutes and be conducted remotely via WebEx. The sessions will be recorded. Recordings are used solely for transcription purposes.   

Your participation in this study would be voluntary and involves no more than minimal risks or discomfort. After you consent, you still may refuse to answer specific questions, withdraw from the study at any time, or ask that information be removed from our dataset. You also may ask questions concerning the study before, during, or after. 


Although there are plans to publish research results, you, as a participant will not be identified in any reports on this study. All research records will be kept confidential to the extent provided by federal, state, and local laws. Data from the study will be kept in a secure location with limited access to the study team only. A copy of this document is available for your records and one copy will be kept with the research records. 

If you would like to participate, please follow the link to sign up here: 


If you would additional information or have questions about this research, you can visit the project website or contact Lesley Langa, Associate Researcher, OCLC, Inc., 6565 Kilgour Place, Dublin, OH, 43017-3395 or email through her contact page here.