The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Here's Looking at You
When I started out in web development in 1995, a tweet was the sound a bird made. I know, this dates me. Looking back, it was difficult to know how the web, and mobile web, would change how we communicate and get information from sharing news with friends and family, to getting the latest times on public transportation. At the Archives alone, we have our website with a blog, public forums, and over 20,000 collection items for downloading and sharing. We contribute our collections to Flickr Commons, History Pin, and Wikipedia. We share collections and resources on our Facebook page with over 4500 ‘likes,’ and we contribute to the overall Smithsonian Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr spaces. With such distributed efforts, it’s increasingly difficult to keep track of how we’re doing in these different spaces. However, as Head of Web & Outreach, I need to know if we’re spending our resources in the right places. So, we have goals and metrics to measure performance against these goals in all of these different spaces (that is, if numbers are available). Today, I’d like to give you a peek into what we know about you, our blog readers, with hopes that you’ll tell us more about yourself in the comments section below!
We have a pretty good idea of generally where you live (don’t worry, we won’t show up at your door since we don’t have your address!). The top 5 countries are:
- United States
- United Kingdom
We have a core following of about 17% of you whom are our returning visitors. About 42% of you are referred to us by other websites. The top 5 referring sites are:
- The Register in the UK
Your favorite blog posts are:
- The Smithsonian's Top 6 Archives Myths, a post that looks at the top 6 misconception people have about the Smithsonian’s archives.
- Wisdom is in the head, and not in the beard..., the tale of a beard measuring 17 ½ feet that was donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in 1967
- Dorothea Dix: Mental Health Reformer and Civil War Nurse, a post examining Dix’s connection to the Smithsonian.
- The Saint Augustine Monster, the mysterious sea blob, or globster, a portion of which was sent to the Smithsonian for identification.
- Some Archival Career Advice, some suggestions from one of our staff members about becoming an archivist
And occasionally we have interviewed some of our more dedicated followers to get to know some of you better. So, please tell us a little bit about yourself and what interests you about the Archives in the comments section below!