Online finding aids, Internet search tools, and increased access to the World Wide Web have greatly changed how patrons find archival collections. Through analyzing eighteen months of access data collected via Web analytics tools, this article examines how patrons discover archival materials. Contrasts are drawn between access from library catalogs and from online search engines, with the latter outweighing the former by an overwhelming margin, and argues whether archival description practices should change accordingly.

Author Biography

Mark O'English is the University Archivist at Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC) within the Washington State University Libraries in Pullman, Washington. He is focused on electronic access to materials, having led a redesign of the WSU Libraries' Web gateway. He was formerly an electronic resources librarian, is currently responsible for MASC's media digitization projects, and was once a writer/researcher for Marvel Publishing.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.