February 2014, marked our second anniversary of contributing finding aids to the Online Archive of California (OAC). We are excited about the fact that in a little over two years we have increased our finding aids from 0 to 120, and we have seen an incremental increase in our visitor usage. While we have a few collections in our growing areas of Film and Television (6 collections) and Politics (3 collections), most of the materials we have processed fall within our 3 main collecting areas:
1. The University Archives (95 collections)
2. The Malibu Historical Collection (10 collections)
3. The Churches of Christ Heritage Center (6 collections)
With the processing of these materials, we have been able to track visitor usage and are pleased to see that more and more people are using our finding aids to access information. During our first month of operation, we had 14 unique visitors look at our finding aids; however, by the end of 2012, we increased to an average of 91 unique visitors per month. By 2013, our numbers jumped to an average of 384, and now, just within the first three months of 2014, we’ve average 425 unique viewers each month. In addition, usage in the reading room has increased as well.
For any given month, we have been able to monitor such interesting things as what finding aids are most popular, how long researchers spent looking at our finding aids, and what keywords did researchers use to find our materials. Some of the more popular finding aids as of late include the Pepperdine College Freedom Forum Records with 56 views, the Chuck Waters Papers with 46 views, and the Michael D. (Micky) Moore Papers with 37 views. About 80% of researchers have spent 30 minutes or less looking at a particular finding aid and some popular keywords include “Malibu” and “Pepperdine.” In addition, we can tell what day is most popular (this month it’s been Sunday) and where researchers reside (32% of our recent viewers reside in Malibu, followed by 20.4% in Houston, and 9.6% in Seattle). Researchers from such countries as China, Ukraine, France, Canada, India, Ireland, and Brazil have looked at our finding aids. Interestingly enough, we can also tell that 1:00 a.m. appears to be a popular search time.
Needless to say, all of this would not be possible without the hard work of our dedicated team. A most sincere thanks to everyone who has participated in the processing of these 120 finding aids. To view our finding aids please click here. If you are interested in learning more about our collections, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 506-4323.