Amy Hildreth Chen is an academic librarian, literary scholar, and open educational resource (OER) game designer. She currently serves as the English and Communications Librarian at the University of Iowa. Her first monograph, Archival Bodies: The American Literary Collections Market since 1955, is forthcoming from University of Massachusetts Press. In her downtime, Chen runs Human(ities) Games, an OER game development lab that provides printable card games and supporting curricula for free to educators.
Amy Hildreth Chen
Using the modernist archive requires finding it first. The modernist archive does not live in one collection at one repository, such as a single university special collections department or one pivotal private library. Rather, the modernist archive is a term used to conceptualize a networked set of collections across many repositories in the United States or abroad. The fact that the modernist archive is dispersed rather than centralized is critical because each institution’s holdings are more or less discoverable based on local application of user experience (UX) principles. Weave, a Journal of Library User Experience defines UX as employing a variety of methodologies to inform improvements to physical and digital space so that the user can easily access collections and services. Th US Department of Health and Human Services provides an overview of UX basics that, adapted for libraries and archives, would require repositories to identify their users, what they want, what skills they have, and which they don’t. According to Coral Sheldon-Hess, when UX is properly implemented, users of all levels of expertise can more easily access what they need. When UX is ignored or poorly applied, users are more likely to perpetuate pre-existing archival silences as well as less likely to have successful searches.