Building upon our experience with ARCH, our study related to the IIPC Novel Coronavirus collection, as well as upon the first months of research we conducted as a cohort team in the Archives Unleashed Project, we will provide feedback related to users’ needs and achievements. Ian Milligan distinguished in his paper “You shouldn’t Need to be a Web Historian to Use Web Archives: Lowering Barriers to Access Through Community and Infrastructure” (WARCnet paper, Aarhus, 2020), three personas: a computational humanist, a digital humanist, and a conventional historian. As an heterogeneous team, mirroring in some ways the personas distinguished by Ian Milligan, we will underline the successes and failures we experienced, the technical layers and levels we unfolded, our experience of collective work which also needs to take interdisciplinarity and heterogeneity (of technical skills, interests, availability, digital literacy) into account, the value of mentorship and our iterative process with data and research questions.
We will finally shortly discuss the many pros and few cons in lowering barriers to access web archives (e.g. How to make access easiest without hiding the complexity of web archives?).