CILIP Cymru Wales represents CILIP, the UK's library and information association, in Wales.
During COVID-19 lockdown in the UK in 2020, we worked with CILIP Cymru Wales to develop a platform that enabled library workers to share their stories and experiences during this unique and challenging time.
Inspired by the ‘citizen journalist’ approach of the Mass Observation Project and its voluntary, qualitative social research on everyday life, For the Record was conceived by Dr Amy Staniforth (CILIP Cymru Wales Relationship Manager) and the CILIP Cymru Wales Committee to capture and record the stories, observations and experiences of library and information workers at this particular moment in time.
Archive and collections software doesn't always offer the best experience for users to contribute their own stories. In order to focus on enabling the contribution of different kinds of stories, we worked on a custom WordPress-based platform for the project. This also allowed us to get a prototype up and running in a very short amount of time.
It was important to capture the relevant information from contributors without creating unnecesary barriers to use. Participants were encouraged to tell their stories in a way that best suited them, including using video, photos and text.
We wanted a contribution form that was gradual and conversational (and multilingual). A thoughtful experience that allowed users to track their progress and consider their responses.
We use a 'One Thing Per Page' approach to designing forms. This makes the form easier to use and lets users focus on the each question in turn (as well as managing any errors and saving progress in a much clearer way).
Though we were utilising a non-specialisted platform for this project, it was important that we created something that implemented best practices such as standardised metadata, open licensing and other considerations that are important to archiving projects.
The content of the archive will now be migrated to the Peoples Collection Wales to create a permanent record of people's experiences during the pandemic.