Scottish Archive Network
Scottish Archive Network Phone (+44) (0)131 242 5814
Thomas Thomson House Fax (+44) (0)131 270 3317
99 Bankhead Crossway North
The Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) project was officially launched in August 1999 and is scheduled for completion in December 2003.
As the Scottish Archive Network project nears its official completion date, it is an opportune moment to examine all the products created by the project and look at their future relevance and development, considering opportunities for the future of all our products and the project itself.
The original aims of this project have already been set out in detail in other reports including the Project Initiation Document (PID) available at s:/hlf/ and these aims will therefore not be detailed in this report. A study of the marketing strategy used to date and it’s effects have already appeared at S:/marketing/reports and this will be updated shortly to take account of recent events.
The following report looks at progress on each of the core aims of the project and, based on this and the marketing experience gained to date, lays out some key recommendations for the future development and marketing of each of them.
o The Scottish Archive Network project is nearing completion
o The future of the products created by the project should be considered now
o Everything created by the project has value
o The experience accrued by the project staff is a valuable asset
o The websites created by the project have proved popular
o Both the websites will require maintenance and future development
o The Scottish Documents website in particular requires constant monitoring and admin assistance for customers
o The Scottish Documents website has sold 8076 products since its launch in April 2003
o The income produced from the sale of testaments is not enough to sustain the project in its entirety
o It is not yet known what the impact of the availability of online catalogues will be
o It may be sometime before funding is available to enable cataloguing to be extended to item level
o Marketing activity used to promote Scottish Documents has had a direct impact on visitors, registrations and sales
o Sustaining a level of marketing and promotional activity will continue to ensure that sales and visitors increase
o Applying a similar approach to other Scottish Archive Network products will ensure that the resources created by the project receive wider recognition
o Products created by the project
o No direct competitors
o Equipment owned by SCAN
o Income produced by Scottish Documents website
o Physical relationship with NAS
o Experience gained by staff
o GSU volunteer staff
o Short time span remaining
o Unavailability of Online Catalogues
o Staff movement to NAS
o Insufficient income produced by Scottish Documents website
o Relationship with NAS
o Only one product currently available for sale
o Genealogical market
o Overseas market
o Current emphasis on genealogical tourism
o Scottish Family History Service development
Demand for other document types
o Lack of funding from NAS
o Lack of marketing and promotional activities
Although the work of the online catalogues team is nearing completion, the products created by the team are not yet available to the general public so we do not have any statistics regarding usage for analysis here. However the following factors are worth noting at this stage:-
o A project which is similar in terms of aim and scale is the HE Archives Hub (http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk ) receives on average 4000 visitors per month carrying out approximately 8000 searches. About 20 enquiries are received every month.
o The Online Catalogues section of the SCAN website received over 19,068 visits since the beginning of 2002 (when our statistical monitoring package was initiated). This represents 5.4% of the total visitor numbers to the SCAN site (356,260 to end March 2003).
o This is therefore a conservative estimate of the likely quantity of visitors that the Online Catalogues part of the site will receive in future.
o 1047 website users have registered online and expressed an interest in receiving news updates specifically on the Online Catalogues project.
The products created by the Internet Resources team are
chiefly, the Knowledge Base, Exhibitions, Discussion Forum, Directory, Featured
Documents and Virtual Vault. In addition to these are the creation and hosting
of microsites for historical and archive-related bodies in
Progress and usage of the main Internet Resources products can be demonstrated in the following charts:-
Fig 1. Website visitors www.scan.org.uk January 2002- March 2003
Fig. 2 – Most popular parts of www.scan.org.uk January 2002- March 2003
Fig 3. Statistics for SCAN-hosted microsites usage January – March 2003
Figure 4. Quantity of registrations (and interest areas) for updates on SCAN site September 1999- March 2003
When compared with the statistics of usage of a top level finding aid site of a similar scale to SCAN such as the Archives Hub http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk (about 145 visitors per day compared to SCAN’s 1000), this clearly demonstrates that the complementary resources created to enhance the finding aids have a high level of interest for users in their own right. It seems likely that their relevance and interest can only increase with the availability of the catalogues themselves.
Allowing these products to remain undeveloped or unaltered for any considerable period of time would have the following results:-
o Users would be less likely to revisit the site
o Information about participating archives would not be updated and users would be disillusioned with the site and the archives listed on it
The Knowledge Base would not reflect the
questions mostly frequently asked in
o Re-design SCAN website to remove Scottish Testaments, create Online Catalogues as focus of content and allow easy integration of future content (site updates) and maintenance
o Canvass users and participating archives on additions they would like to see. Integrate any suggestions into redesign of site
o Test new website design on cross-section of users
o Make provision for updating content of SCAN website on a regular basis
o Make SCAN website responsive to participating archives
o Place some responsibility on participating archives to provide regular and up-to-date content for the site
o Continue to maintain SCAN-hosted microsites and continue to provide platform for hosting microsites
o Create SCAN newsletter specifically for participating archives to encourage contribution and keep informed on progress and site usage statistics
o Monitor enquiries and visitor numbers on site
o Monitor effects on participating archives – number of enquiries, visitors etc. – especially once the Online Catalogues are available
o Send out newsletters to lists of registered users to increase awareness and publicity regarding the SCAN Website
o Update site content regularly to increase user ‘stickiness’ – repeat visitors
o Send out press releases for major new events and additions
Figure 1. Visitors to www.scottishdocuments.com April 2002- March 2003
Figure 2. Scottish Documents site registrations April 2002- March 2003
Figure 3. Scottish Documents – documents sold by month July 2002- March 2003
o The site as it stands has the potential to make around 60-85k over a 12-month period. Precedent and unique nature of products suggests that, though this may ‘plateau’ it is unlikely to drop dramatically.
o It will require ongoing marketing work to maintain this growth and development phase
o The products themselves fit neatly into the ‘SFHS’ concept.
o To rebrand the site would negate a lot of the hard work that has already gone into creating and publicising the brand.
o Customer loyalty is an important factor in maintaining the site and should not be neglected in the future life of the site
o Any transfer of the brand or products should be carefully planned
o There is a need to look at problems associated with maintaining SFHS brand and Scot Docs brands
o Continue sending out newsletters
o Look at other site enhancements to improve customer experience
o Consider implications of adding other products to the website
o Periodically monitor and review site usage and statistics and customer feedback
o Maintenance – outlook and suggestions
o Liaise with Scotlandspeople regarding future development and marketing of the site and products
There has been a concentrated effort during the latter stages of the SCAN project to market the Scottish testaments and look at promoting the resources we have created. A summary of this marketing activity and it’s effects can be found at S:\Marketing\Reports\Sales and Marketing Report January 2003.doc This will be updated to take account of subsequent developments.
The effort expended thus far has demonstrated the following key points:-
o Online marketing activity (Google advertisements, banner ads, search engines placements and newsletters) has a positive effect on numbers of visitors and also on sales of documents
o Traditional marketing (press etc) has a positive though short term effect on visitor numbers
o Maintaining good customer care is a time-consuming but worthwhile part of the administration process and promotes customer confidence and repeat purchasing
o Distribution of the online newsletter to registered users has a very positive effect on sales and visitor numbers
o A responsive website is important for managing customer expectations
o Continue existing marketing work and monitor results continuously
o Look for new marketing and partnership opportunities
o Continue to monitor and respond to customer feedback
o Look at ways of marketing any new resources added to the Scottish Documents website
o Promote the Scottish Documents service at key events