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This qualitative research was conducted for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) at archives in London and Manchester in May 2003 by Sabin-Samuels Associates. Four groups of non-users, C1C2 social class were held together with one user group. The focus of the study was to understand more about non-users and why they fail to use archives. The work was intended to help identify potential solutions to the creation of wider public access and a more supportive public environment for archive services.
The report that follows was first presented in slide format in June 2003 (see Appendices).
The report, which broadly follows the sequence of the discussions held in the qualitative research groups, highlights how negatively archives are perceived, and by contrast how surprised and delighted non-users can be when shown the possibilities of the archive in an imaginative light.
We hope this report will contribute to archivistsí work in broadening the reach and appeal of these invaluable resources. We have made some suggestions based on this small-scale research as to how a segmentation of potential users could work, and the implications of this for communications planning.