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The results of the MADDLAIN project

After two years, the MADDLAIN project has come to an end. Six researchers have analysed a large number of data, including the results of a survey answered by 2,300 external users. Additionally, numerous interviews have been examined. Today, the three associated institutions behind MADDLAIN – the Belgian State Archives, the Belgian Royal Library, and CegeSoma – are happy to present the results of their investigation.

MADDLAIN has brought together a panel comprised of IT specialists, archivists, library experts, information scientists, and historians, with the aim of understanding the needs and practices of those who use digital data in their research. Moreover, we have tried to find out which instruments and methods can be used to get a better view of our users. The project was financed (2015-2017) by the BRAIN programme of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office. The project, in which participated the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Department of Information and Communication Sciences) and IMEC (Ghent) was coordinated by CegeSoma.
Apart from undertaking a general survey, MADDLAIN followed two tracks. On the one hand, we have analysed the online mediation tools used by persons searching the collections. On the other hand, we assessed the expectations of an important group among those users: the academic researchers. Two types of data ware used: the browsing data of catalogues, and the non-structured or partly structured responses given in interviews and questionnaires. In general, users have played an important role: in the spring of 2016, some 2,300 persons have answered the online survey. Due to this interaction, we have been able to formulate highly relevant conclusions.

The results of the project can be retrieved in various ways:

- A brochure and a poster containing a summary of the main issues that need to be realized.

- Three reports containing:

  • the results of the survey and the web analytics data;
  • the results of the in-depth study concerning the expectations among researchers;
  • the results of the investigation concerning mediation tools.

- Statistics of the raw data concerning the survey.
- The report of the workshop held on 22 February 2017.

Results of the MADDLAIN project


1. Publications

Brochure (FR/NL-PDF-9 p.)
Poster (FR/NL-PDF-1 p.)
Report audience (written in English-PDF-48 p.)
Report VRE (written in English-PDF-61 p.)
Report digital tools (written in English-PDF-14 p.) + annexes
Report of the workshop (written in English, Dutch and French-PDF-143 p.)


2. Raw data of the general public survey

- The Belgian State Archives

All user categories (PDF-73 p.)
Genealogists (PDF-47 p.)
Those who use the collections of the State Archives for personal reasons (PDF-39 p.)
Those who use the collections of the State Archives for professional reasons (PDF-38 p.)
Summary of the comments  (PDF-5 p.)

- CegeSoma

All user categories (PDF-41 p.)
o Those who use the collections of CegeSoma for personal reasons (PDF-36 p.)
Those who use the collections of CegeSoma for professional reasons (PDF-35 p.)
Summary of the comments (PDF-3 p.)

- Royal Library

All user categories (PDF-56 p.)
o Those who use the collections of Royal Library for personal reasons (PDF-46 p.)
Those who use the collections of Royal Library for professional reasons (PDF-41 p.)
Summary of the comments  (PDF-4 p.)


3. Raw data Maddlain_WebAnalytics (written in French - PDF-198p.)