User studies in archives have long focused on researchers' satisfaction, behaviors, and use of primary sources. Yet, archivists have never defined what characteristics denote an expert user of archives. This article reports on a research study involving in-depth interviews with twenty-eight individuals. The analysis of these interviews led to the development of a model of researcher expertise that might be incorporated into archival user education to create information literacy for primary sources. The authors assert that there are three distinct forms of knowledge required to work effectively with primary sources: domain (subject) knowledge, artifactual literacy, and the authors' own concept of archival intelligence. Archival intelligence is a researcher's knowledge of archival principles, practices, and institutions, such as the reason underlying archival rules and procedures, the means for developing search strategies to explore research questions, and an understanding of the relationship between primary sources and their surrogates. This is separate from domain or subject knowledge and artifactual literacy, or the ability to interpret and analyze primary sources. Archival intelligence encompasses three dimensions: 1) knowledge of archival theory, practices, and procedures; 2) strategies for reducing uncertainty and ambiguity when unstructured problems and ill-defined solutions are the norm; 3) and intellective skills.
Research Article| January 01 2003
AI: Archival Intelligence and User Expertise
The American Archivist (2003) 66 (1): 51–78.
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Elizabeth Yakel, Deborah Torres; AI: Archival Intelligence and User Expertise. The American Archivist 1 January 2003; 66 (1): 51–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.17723/aarc.66.1.q022h85pn51n5800
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