The purpose of this paper is to examine user studies as well as user education within the context of public services offered by archival institutions. It highlighted some of the key aspects that constitute both concepts drawing from history in order to provide a better understanding in the context of current professional discussions.
The review analysed peer-reviewed articles ranging from the late 1970s to the present time to illuminate debates in the archival professional underpinning the current understanding of user studies and user education.
The paper outlined the different paths used in user studies to ensure data collection is exhaustive and provides a nuanced assessment of user needs. It also outlined the two related paradigms of structuring user education programmes, highlighted the points at which they differ and the rich discussions resulting from comparative analysis.
The paper demonstrated that there is a rich corpus of professional literature on both user studies and user education, expounding on different aspects that would ensure both are designed and implemented effectively.
The views expressed herein are those of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s current employer, the International Atomic Energy, nor any of the author’s previous employers.
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