Thursday, October 1, 2009

If You Build It, They Will Come

Here's a link from the Economist that's part of a different part of my life - but one that I don't have a blog for at the moment, so I'm sticking it in here. The British National Archives - like all archives - is having budget problems. Apparently, howver, they thought they could encourage folks not to come and visit (and use electricity, erode the carpets, and, worst of all, impinge upon the solitude of the archivists), by putting stuff online. Nope.
They are right, too, to take the budgetary initiative in these straitened
times. But the perennial tough choice between supporting often rarefied research
and attracting the masses has got tougher, and solutions are proving elusive.
The archive has hoped that putting more material online would cut the numbers
trekking to Kew. In vain, it seems: document downloads were up by nearly 13%
this August from the same month a year earlier, yet at least as many visitors
showed up in person. The archive is, in a sense, the victim of its own
Heh. Who would ever have thought that if you make archives user friendly, people may find interesting things in them?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and if you are not interested in the archive but just in history in general listen at their podcast - full of gems and brillant presenters - if you feel like saucy stuff about the good old times try out Audrey Collins but there are lots and lots of other treats like Sahib the British soldier, Jamestown, Darwin, drink, railways etc. etc. - no wonder they attract visitors, they sound like the kind of knowledgeable people who are genuine fun