It is a Matter of Perspectives

A Literature Review of Users and Use in an Archival Context


  • Erica Hellmer Department of Communication, Quality Management and Information Systems, Mid Sweden University, Sweden



Digitalization and technological developments lead to increased expectations of instant access to archives and archival information. Concurrently, archival information systems and access tools are becoming more advanced, which opens new arenas for possible users and use in the archival domain. Research on the development of digital archives, finding aids, and archival interfaces, highlight the importance of reflecting the understanding of user needs, behaviors, expectations, and their use of technology. The current study, based on a systematic literature review with thematic analysis, addresses the multiple perspectives of users and their use in the archival context. The results show that a ‘user’ is a complex and heterogeneous conceptualization, pragmatically adapted depending on perspectives and contexts. Studies of users and use are strongly bound to their context and the current study further highlights the question of if and how users and use can be viewed outside of their contexts. Research points to a more individual perspective where different user studies and methods explore the user’s cognition and perception to paint a picture of what a user understands and how they use archival records.  


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How to Cite

Hellmer, E. (2023). It is a Matter of Perspectives: A Literature Review of Users and Use in an Archival Context. Nordic Journal of Library and Information Studies, 4(2), 19–34.