two.The archive's paper-based administration is becoming an increasing burden on the
archivists, and ongoing activities, such as digital cataloguing, are suffering as a result.
Through the implementation and customisation of a dedicated CRM software pack-
age, a new customer database could be linked to the archive's current electronic resources
and finding aids, allowing previously-unrecognised patterns to be revealed.The archivists
would be able to produce reports which quickly detail, for example:
- which type of user (student, historian, genealogist) requests a given document or set
of documents most frequently;
- which documents are most popular (given their uniqueness and the risk of wear and
tear, the archivists may wish to consider digitising these);
- how users contact the archive (telephone, email, fax, letter); and
- what geographic areas the enquiries are coming from?
These reports may be produced in a visual format, making the statistical information
easier to contextualise, supporting administrative decisions, and making it easier to answer
user queries. Many archives offer users a certain amount of searching time (often the first
thirty minutes or hour) free of charge but it will be necessary to record all user time in
order to administer chargeable elements. Other chargeable services, such as copying doc-
uments or viewing building control records, can be streamlined and standardised.
A log of contact instances will be kept by the CRM package, with standard answers to
frequent enquiries made available on a basic website.This log could be linked to the
report-generating element of the software.The website could allow registered users to
view selected documents from their home computers, further easing the strain on the
duty archivists. Details of document acquisitions and appraisals can be stored on the sys-
tem, alongside appropriate contact and legal details for sources and donors.
One difficulty for an eCRM solution in this case is the strong likelihood that not all
documents will be digitally catalogued. Card indexes and manual catalogues still hold vast
amounts of information. It will be essential to map the current archival description stan-
dard format to the CRM database design, in order for the two systems to exchange
information accurately and efficiently. Depending on the complexity of the proposed
CRM solution, this may be an expensive process, and must be costed rigorously prior to
the final purchase decision.
Staff may have to be trained in the use of the new technology, though the fact that
archivists already work according to strict procedures and guidelines should be an aid to
The archive's digitisation strategy is slow but ongoing, and is largely based on those
documents most frequently requested by users.With careful planning and implementa-
tion, the CRM system will be an invaluable factor in informing the archive's future cata-
loguing and digitisation strategies.
Scenario V Arts Festival
From humble beginnings in the 1950s, an annual performing arts festival has grown to
a huge size, with over 750,000 tickets sold from a number of outlets each year and more
than one thousand acts appearing across some 150 different venues. Managing these
numbers has become increasingly difficult.The festival has its own website, which is
maintained by the core in-house staff (ten full- and part-time workers), and although
email is used reasonably frequently, the telephone remains the most popular method of
communication accounting for a significant amount of staff time.