Proliferation of Internet has brought many changes to service environment of archives. Archives provide users with easier and more convenient access to and use of archival data through their Internet websites. These services will increase more and more in the future.
Now, archival websites function not only as a tool of information provision or marketing, or as a gateway of Internet-based materials, but also as cyber space for all services of archives, providing users with information and knowledge and direct accessibility to the services in the archives.
At present, Korean archives are proceeding with establishing websites or upgrading existing websites, and the use rates and reliability of web services by users are becoming higher. However, although there have been various studies for the evaluation of general websites, few are found with regard to the evaluation of archival websites.
It is necessary for archival websites that provide information service to users of every stripe to make more efforts and have more interest in user-centered convenience, right to know, and information provision-centered service. Accordingly, needless to say, it is necessary to study evaluation criteria of websites so that high quality archival websites can be established.
With this background, this study establishes evaluation criteria for archival websites, which are appropriate to their objectives and functions and directly evaluates archives, presenting ways to establish and redevelop archival websites. More detailed purposes are as follows:
First, analyzes existing theories of evaluation through reviews on previous literature and elicits evaluation criteria for websites, which are appropriate to archives;
Second, based on the elicited evaluation criteria for archival websites, examines the current state of domestic archival websites through analytic evaluation; and
Third, presents ways to improve archival websites that may be helpful in establishing or improving them in the future.
The methods used in this study are as follows:
First, analyzes previous literature of various fields with regard to criteria and evaluation for establishing websites in order to present model evaluation criteria for archival websites;
Second, elicits evaluation criteria appropriate to archival websites and establishes a theoretical frame and standard;
Third, evaluates and analyzes selected archives through an application of evaluation criteria prepared by an evaluation panel; and
Fourth, finds problems and presents ways to improve.
To this end, this study applied the results of research on previous literature regarding website evaluation to archival websites and presented archival website-specific evaluation criteria. Further, evaluations were conducted on five domestic and foreign archival websites. In order to measure the reliability of the elicited evaluation criteria, Cronbach's Alpha was used in analyzing the evaluation results. As a result of it, the evaluation criteria were rated as
reliable. In analyzing the evaluation results, the total mean point was first analyzed, and then analyses by area, item, and subitem were made.
The evaluation criteria that reflect the characteristics of archival websites to the evaluation criteria for general websites were elicited and applied to the archival websites, and as a result, the problems specific to archival websites were identified and the specific ways to improve them were presented. The evaluation criteria for archival websites consist of five areas including composition, design, contents, interface, communication, and search and 16
sub-criteria, and detailed evaluation items include 54.
As a result of evaluation, three foreign national archives were rated as high, recording higher points of 69 at maximum and 33.4 at minimum, compared to Korean archives. Of them, The National Archives(TNA) recorded a mean point of 217.8, rated as higher than the other archives in all of the five areas. In particular, it is considered that Korean archives should improve the power of planning and contents in the information service provided by foreign archives through benchmarking.
The expectancy effects of this study are as follows:
First, it will be helpful when one wishes to identify the current state of archival websites and to improve or redevelop existing websites, or to develop online service through website;
Second, it will function as a checklist when a developer who is to establish an archival website wishes to develop evaluation criteria; and
Third, it may be used as an inspection tool when an archives contracts out the establishment of its website.