Who uses the digital data archive? An exploratory study of DANS

Christine L. Borgman, Herbert Van de Sompel, Andrea Scharnhorst, H. van den Berg, Andrew Treloar

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the advances in policy and practice for data sharing, surprisingly little is known about the uses and users of digital data archives, about relationships between users and the staff of data archives, or how these behaviors vary by discipline, geographic region, policy, and other factors. Digital data archives are not a single type of institution, however. They vary widely in organizational structure, mission, collection, funding, and relationships to their users and other stakeholders. We present an exploratory study of DANS, the Digital Archiving and Networked Services of the Netherlands, with the goal of identifying methods for studying the contributors, consumers, and role of archivists in digital data archives. Starting with transaction logs that serve management purposes, we present estimates of the distribution of uses and users of DANS. Units of analysis necessary to study user behavior, such as dataset, file, user, creator, and consumer, are difficult to glean from logs that were not designed for these inquiries. We recommend methods for improving the design of data collection instruments and outline the subsequent phases of our mixed-method research on the uses, users, policy, and practice of digital data archiving.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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