Progress on building a National Finding Aid Network

The following post is part of a series highlighting OCLC Research’s efforts for the Building a National Finding Aid Network (NAFAN) project. You can view the rest of the series here.

We’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently regarding our work on NAFAN, mainly because we’ve been heads down on doing that work! We’ve been deep in data analysis, and are getting to the exciting part of a research project when all of the efforts of data collection come together to start producing tangible findings. Similarly, project leads at California Digital Library (CDL) and partners at Shift Collective have been hard at work with their own progress to report.

I recently joined Rachael Hu and Adrian Turner from CDL to share some of that progress in a webinar. The recording and slides from that presentation are now available.

NAFAN information session (2022-10-06) from California Digital Library on Vimeo.

In the presentation, we share updates on a number of project fronts:

  • Initial research findings from three of OCLC Research’s data collection efforts: focus group discussions with archivists, an analysis of 145K EAD encoded finding aids, and a pop-up survey of 3,300 users of regional archival aggregation websites.
  • Findings related to how a national-level finding aid network might offer services, support, and advocacy to community-based archives, surfaced in a two-day workshop hosted by Shift Collective in December 2021.
  • The high-level functional and design model envisioned for a national-level finding aid network, based on input from these and other findings in the larger project.

I encourage you to watch the video. You can also read the full report from Shift’s community convening Increasing National Discovery of Archives. And of course, keep an eye out here for further updates from our NAFAN research!