Rachel Walton (’15) wins SAA Pease Award for best paper

June 15, 2016

Rachel Walton (MSLS ’15), alumna of the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), is the 2016 recipient of the Society of American Archivists' Theodore Calvin Pease Award. The award recognizes superior writing achievements by students of archival studies, and entries are judged on innovation, scholarship, pertinence, and clarity of writing.

Walton’s paper, “Looking for Answers: A Usability Study of Online Finding Aid Navigation,” presents a usability study on the finding aid interface created by Princeton University Library and analyzed 10 use cases to determine how users interact with a particular online finding aid system. She concludes with 10 pragmatic guidelines for archival professions designing online archival finding aids with a high degree of usability. 

Walton's paper was nominated for the Pease Award by Dr. Helen R. Tibbo, SILS Alumni Distinguished Professor. In her nomination, Tibbo wrote, “The methodology is sound and the writing is clear. [Walton] did an excellent job researching the literature around finding aids and extended what we know about how online finding aids might be better designed and presented.”  

The paper will be published in The American Archivist, Volume 80, Number 1 (Spring/Summer 2017). Walton’s paper had previously been recognized with the 2015 Dean’s Achievement Award, presented annually to two graduating SILS students for producing the highest quality masters’ papers as judged by a faculty committee.

In 2015, Walton received the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) Gene J. Williams Award for her paper, “Searching High and Low: Faceted Navigation as a Model for Archival Finding Aids.”

Walton began her career in archives in the Special Collections department at the University of Florida, where she completed both her B.A. and M.A. in history. As a SILS student, she interned in the records department at RTI International and worked as an assistant curator for Dryad, a digital scientific data repository. She was a fellow at the Odum Institute for Social Science Research at UNC and served as secretary of UNC's student chapter of SAA.

Since graduating from SILS in 2015, Walton has been the Digital Archivist and Records Management Coordinator at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.