Archival metrics and user evaluation for government archives

This project aligned with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission’s (NHPRC) strategic goal to promote the dissemination and use of historical records. The project developed tools by which grant-making organizations can access the impact of archives upon users and fostered a culture of assessment among the repositories that are the custodians of our public records.

Start date: 1/1/2009
End date: 9/30/2011

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By helping government archives assess their services, this project aimed to help archival managers devote attention and resources to improving access to the services that users care about most.

This grant promoted a culture of assessment in government repositories by creating standardized survey tools and other performance measures. By centralizing tool development, this study helped archivists and records managers overcome time and resource impediments to implementing assessment programs and assured the use of valid and reliable tools. The project researched, designed, and tested instruments and instructions for administration and analysis and then made freely available on the Archival Metrics website.

The project delivered user-based evaluation toolkits aimed at the diverse constituencies of government archives to help assess how well government archives and records repositories support promoting government accountability, guaranteeing individual rights and preserving history for future generations. This project also served as the beginning of impact/performance measures for the field. Longitudinal data collected in ensuing years using the created tools will reveal trends in performance and measure impact of programs.

Other collaborators on this project were Helen Tibbo at the University of North Carolina and Wendy Duff at the University of Toronto.


Archival Metrics and User Evaluation for Government Archives, National Archives and Records Administration; $229,498


As the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of the Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage.