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Archive study area

​Archive Study Area at LMA

Results of 2016 LMA Visitor Survey

During the three month period September - November 2016 a total of 114 record offices across the UK surveyed their onsite users in what is now the 13th Visitors’ Survey organised by the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) in conjunction with The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). LMA conducted its survey during a fortnight in October and analysed 157 survey forms. The results are now in and Elizabeth Scudder reveals the main findings from the LMA Survey.

The Survey of Visitors to UK Archives looks at archive services provided from the adult individual‘s point of view. The survey captures the visitor journey by understanding

  • preparations taken in advance of their visit
  • impressions of staff, services and facilities
  • the consequences of their visit

Although the questionnaire has evolved over the years, the same survey questions were used in the 2016 survey as for the 2014 survey, which has allowed for comparisons between the years.

The main findings from LMA’s Survey were as follows:

  • Overall satisfaction with LMA remained high, with a score of 8.9 out of 10 
  • While satisfaction with online resources was positive, it was somewhat lower than more traditional aspects of the service
  • The average amount of time spent at LMA was 3.8 hours (higher than the national average which was 3.1 hours)
  • Around 16% of respondents were first time visitors to LMA
  • Around 50% of respondents that had visited LMA before were regular users
  • The most frequent reason for visiting LMA was to conduct family history research (47%) which was a small increase since 2014. Other common reasons were local history research (19%) and academic research (28%). Nationally the figure for local history research is much higher (30%), but that for academic research lower (21%)
  • Satisfaction with LMA’s staff was high. Scores for availability of staff, attitude of staff and for quality and appropriateness of staff’s advice were all 9.6 out of 10, an increase of 1% from the last Survey.
  • Although 79% of respondents scored the availability of computers as “very good”, only 32% rated the speed of the computers as “very good”. Since the survey was run further work has been completed by the City’s IT department to improve the speed and performance of the public computers, as well as making improvements to the public Wi-Fi system.
  • A number of comments were made about the lack of an onsite café. Visitors to LMA might like to know that there is a wide variety of places to eat and drink along Exmouth Market which is only around a 5 minute walk from LMA.

It is interesting to see the wide research spectrum of visitors to LMA, a few examples in visitors’ own words demonstrate this:

  • Researching the Foundling Hospital archives re children/adults buried at Highgate Cemetery in the Foundling graves there. I am a volunteer at Highgate.
  • One of a team researching Lists of Brothers at Charterhouse since 17th century, in preparation for opening of their new museum.
  • Trying to trace children who died between Census.
  • I’m working on a historical project about Black Community activism in the 1970s-1980s.
  • Maternal mortality rates in London hospitals and congenital abnormalities.
  • For my Family history I am now trying to put the ‘’History’’ into context.
  • Research for a new project on the first European ‘Fish Revolution’ (the increase in the consumption of marine fish ca. 1400-1700).
  • Chinese female immigrants in Britain since the 1860s.
  • Family connection to an event at Wembley Stadium in 1980s

It is clear from the responses to the survey that archives provide a number of benefits: 100% of our users agreed that they had enjoyed themselves; 97% agreed that it had helped to improve their knowledge in an area of interest; 99% that it had inspired them to find out more; 95% that it had helped to improve their understanding of their community; and 78% said that it had helped to develop new skills or improve existing skills.

We look forward to see how things have changed when the next onsite survey is conducted in 2018!

Published:
11 July 2017
Last Modified:
08 August 2018

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