Apr 262015

In a recent post, we introduced two of the four personas that have emerged through the consultation work we have been doing with libraries and archiving agencies. The consultation was an opportunity to learn about our users and their jobs, the kinds of priorities they have and where they have to and want to focus their resources.   We are creating personas by identifying common themes and positions: as we explained, they do not represent real individuals, who may have attributes of multiple personas or who may not conform to any, but rather they are simplified ‘types’ to help us keep our users at the forefront of our thoughts as we develop the registry and the Keepers Extra project. This post introduces the remaining two personas we are working with.


cross checker medium3. The Cross Checker“I need to confirm the details”


 This persona is task-oriented and typically works in a ‘publisher relations’ role that may include checking licences, negotiation of subscriptions, or monitoring publisher behaviour for accreditation or authentication. Their working contexts and priorities can vary quite dramatically but for a variety of reasons they need to cross check information from publishers and to double check that preservation activity is taking place as described. They typically think of the archiving agencies as ‘insurance policies’ and are not invested in the idea of preservation, seeing it as someone else’s responsibility. This persona typically discovered the Keepers Registry through word of mouth and now uses it regularly as part of their workflow, searching on a publisher basis and getting enough information to satisfy their requirements.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. The Collection Analyst“I want control over how I filter and sort the data.”
 Working with large digital collections, typically in an archiving agency, this persona is concerned with monitoring preservation coverage for a large number of titles.  They have multiple responsibilities which include reviewing and reporting on their own collection, developing collections, or finding new markets/publishers, and they typically use holdings data in multiple workflows. Their priority is to ensure the integrity of their collection, identifying where there are gaps in their holdings that could be filled or whether there journals relevant to their collection priorities that are ‘at risk of loss’.  The Collection Analyst has plenty of ideas about how they could use the data, and would like to be able to arrange it according to their own parameters of interest, which might be subject-specific, geographical, historical or otherwise.  They understand the Keepers Registry and the issues around standardisation of data.
Apr 202015

As part of the initial research for the Keepers Extra project we have been speaking to archiving agencies about their use of the Keepers Registry and about the global digital preservation landscape more generally. Several common themes have emerged from these discussions.  We were delighted to hear that the Keepers Registry is highly regarded among the Keeper agencies and potential Keepers, and viewed as an important service and a way to increase the visibility of work in the field of digital preservation. There is wide recognition that the Keepers Registry occupies a unique position in having established productive working relationships with many major archiving agencies, and that this is a positive position from which to facilitate communication and collaboration.

There was also broad consensus on the need for more discussion between the Keepers, particularly around the areas of standardisation of data and tackling the long tail. Many of the Keeper agencies wish to use the Keepers Registry in order to analyse gaps and overlaps in what is being preserved. For some, this would be a way of analysing their own collections with a view to working at the title level to complete runs of particular journals. For others, it would offer a way to identify material ‘at risk of loss’ and therefore a way to prioritise publishers or titles for preservation. In both cases, doing such analyses quickly and efficiently depends on being able to access easily comparable data, so a better standardisation of data would be very helpful. This would also assist the sharing of data and impact on the ways in which an API could be used to integrate the Keepers Registry information into other systems and processes.

A further common theme was the challenge of preserving the ‘long tail’ of e-journals produced by small publishers and bodies such as academic societies or university departments. The key issues here are funding, scalability (or lack thereof), and division of labour. Reaching out to small publishers takes a lot of resources, human and financial, so this work is expensive. For every publisher that an agency works with, there are negotiations around a contract and costs around setting up technology and establishing protocols. If that publisher produces 300 journals, there is an economy of scale that justifies the cost. However, if that publisher produces only one journal, it suddenly becomes a very expensive process indeed. In such a context, having multiple agencies spend those resources on the same material seems illogical, yet there is no established way for agencies to cooperate to ensure as broad a coverage as possible. So there seem to be two potential ways of approaching this challenge: on the one hand finding ways to scale up the work and, on the other, finding ways to meet or lower the costs.

Apr 152015

Throughout the last two months we have been engaged in consultation work with libraries and archiving agencies. As well as getting feedback on the registry and on our project plans, we have been using this opportunity to learn more about the workflows, decisions and challenges that face the people who use Keepers Registry. Sifting through these interviews for common themes and concerns, we are in the process of developing a set of personas that will guide development of the registry and the directions of the Keepers Extra project. Personas do not represent real individuals, who may have attributes of multiple personas or who may not conform to any, but rather they are simplified ‘types’ which we can keep in mind as we work to ensure we are meet the needs of our different users.  This post introduces two of the four key personas that we have identified.

  1. Woman working on computer in libraryThe Trouble Shooter


“I don’t have time to figure out how to use new tools”


This persona has a variety of responsibilities, typically working as part of a small team and often with comparatively few resources. Their job involves dealing with queries, working with others to make decisions about subscriptions and cancellations, maintaining data about their e-journal holdings and library systems, and responding to issues and challenges as they arise. The key priority of this persona is ensuring access and making their collections as discoverable and easy to use as possible. The trouble-shooter researches post cancellation access when they want to make decisions about cancelling particular titles, as part of an annual review in the summer months, or when they want to withdraw print. They currently have to check several sources to find data on holdings, licences and preservation, and they sometimes require input from agents and/or publishers.  They would like to have a more efficient way of analysing their collections and researching titles, but struggle to make time to research potential services and tools. 


  1. Discussing business strategyThe Strategist


“I wish all these systems would speak to one another more effectively” 


At a senior managerial level, this persona has a broad awareness of current debates in the library and information sector and of the issues involved in digital collections management and preservation. They have responsibility for a team and for oversight of development projects and annual reviews, although typically they will be delegating research and administrative tasks. Their priorities are operational, typically around the smooth functioning of library workflows and systems integration, and they have the authority to implement change and the resources to develop projects. The Strategist recognises the importance of being able to guarantee perpetual access to research and learning communities, and they understand the risks in relying on publishers for preservation.  They typically know of the Keepers Registry and see its value, although not necessarily how it could fit into regular workflows.  They would be keen to support archiving initiatives and would like to be able to confidently assure their stakeholders of post cancellation access. However, they typically feel there are other more pressing priorities at their institution and they may not have considered the kinds of strategic or collaborative action that could be taken. 


Both the Trouble-Shooter and the Strategist personas have emerged from our library consultations. In a future post, we will introduce the personas emerging from our other research exercises.