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

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

8 Citations (Scopus)


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 78th ASIS&T Annual Meeting 2015
Subtitle of host publicationInformation Science with Impact: Research in and for the Community
EditorsAndrew Grove
Place of PublicationUSA
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAnnual Conference of American Society for Information Science and Technology 2015 - Hyatt Regency St Louis at the Arch, St. Louis, United States of America
Duration: 6 Nov 201510 Nov 2015
Conference number: 78th

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
ISSN (Print)2373-9231


ConferenceAnnual Conference of American Society for Information Science and Technology 2015
Abbreviated titleASIS&T 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CitySt. Louis
Internet address


  • Data
  • digital archives
  • information policy
  • knowledge infrastructure
  • transaction log analysis
  • user behavior

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