The past decade has been a time of new calls for reassessment of the archival reference function and analysis of the use of archival and historical records. Like bookends, we have on the one side a series of statements arguing for institutional studies of users and on the other calls for national approaches to the problem of understanding the use of America's documentary heritage. Despite the strong calls, there has been little response to either side. Ann Gordon's study, also called the Historical Documents Study, for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission is a rare star in the constellation of archival user studies. It also shows the great need that the archival profession has for such studies, but not in the manner that the Gordon study intended. It is also a very different study than what archivists probably expected.



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