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Dissertation Information for Denise Anthony

NAME:
- Denise Anthony

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (2006)

ADVISORS:
- Elizabeth Yakel

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- David Wallace
- Judith S. Olson
- Colleen Michele Seifert

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Beyond description: An exploration of experienced archivists' knowledge and searching skills

Abstract: This study examines how experienced archivists locate information in collections of primary source materials. The success of this process is recognized to be highly dependent on the specialized knowledge of these archivists; in their absence the quality and reliability of reference services suffers. Consequently, there is a need to fully understand what constitutes this expertise in order to share it and make it more readily accessible to others. What skills and knowledge do these archivists acquire that make them proficient at finding information in archives?

Eight of the participants in this study were archivists with an average of 20 years experience. The other participants were students either in or recently graduated from an LIS masters program with an average of approximately 208 hours of reference and information searching experience. Each participant talked out loud as he or she proceeded to search for information to answer research question scenarios. I audio and video-recorded these processes and reviewed the recording with the participant, asking questions and encouraging comments.

The concept of situated knowledge - the perspective that cognition and knowledge are emergent in the body's interaction with the world - informed the analysis of the verbal protocols, direct observation and retrospective interviews of the participants in this study. The experienced archivists' knowledge of their university or college's history, people and departmental functions was, as expected, significant when compared with the novices'. This knowledge allowed the experienced archivists to directly access primary resources whereas the novices often needed to perform meta-searches. The desire to provide effective and efficient reference service influenced the experienced archivists' skill development. They made decisions based on their evaluations of the quality of primary resources in terms of form and format, comprehensiveness and accuracy of content in order to be as efficient as possible while still providing 'good' information. This evaluation extended also to their use of access tools. Additionally, the experienced archivists used cues in the environment and episodic memory of prior events to locate relevant information without referring to labels, texts, etc.: their ability to intellectually and physically access information was intertwined.

MPACT Scores for Denise Anthony

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:30:44

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Students under Denise Anthony

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None