Why is Archives creating fake online identities?

The National Archives and Records Administration knows a thing or two about filing systems, and now it’s developed one for its users, as well. 

Using website and social media analytics, online customer satisfaction surveys, incoming emails from customers and interviews with NARA staff, among other data sources, the team developed eight digital personas to represent what they believe are their key audience segments: The researcher, veteran, genealogist, educator, history enthusiast, curious nerd, museum visitor or government stakeholder.

NARA personas

Photo Credit: National Archives and Records Administration

Whether you’re a George Kaplan or a Mildred Mapleton, the goal of these customer representations is to better understand, and therefore cater to, individuals that engage digitally with the National Archives.

Varying in age from 25 to 71, the NARA personas offer snapshots of user demographics and include fictional accounts of how the user has interacted with the National Archives. The composites each have whats and whys assigned to their user stories, and these specific needs will be referred when NARA staff conceive and prioritize aspects of their digital properties. 

The entire blog entry, with a link to all the digital personas, can be found at

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