Proof-of-Concept: Checkout System/Workflow

In the last post, I discussed the third and final method used for designing the checkout system: previous use cases. Compiling a list of previous uses allows the Briscoe to plan for future uses and generate a framework for vetting research requests. Now, after interviewing stakeholders, shadowing Briscoe staff, and delving into the UTVA’s history, I was ready to apply the lessons learned and create a checkout system/workflow that can accommodate in-Reading Room research requests.

The Checkout System

Briefly, the checkout system I created has five distinct stages through which the materials flow:

  1. Stabilize and maintain the hardware
  2. Request the hardware
  3. Locate and retrieve the hardware
  4. Assemble and use the hardware
  5. Reshelve the hardware.

In this post and those that follow, I will discuss the checkout system and its five stages in two ways. First, I will describe an imagined research scenario in which a team comes to the Briscoe and requests specific UTVA materials. I used this specific scenario to help picture the interactions among the visitors, staff members, and internal and external access tools.

Second, in the next series of posts, I will discuss each of the 5 stages of the checkout system/workflow as they relate to the specific hardware request. By imagining the console moving through the system, I worked to create the access tools that would help Briscoe staff successfully service the hypothetical team’s research needs. The same tools that will be used in the actual trial run!

The Research Scenario

A PhD student in the Radio, Film, and Television (RTF) department at the University of Texas has arrived at the Briscoe Center with a research partner and wishes to use the Mattel Intellivision II.

The team is researching video game emulation and wants to experience authentic game play with the original system in order to investigate significant properties of that game experience.

Which, if any, significant properties are lost playing Frogger on an emulator when compared to Frogger on a Mattel Intellivision II?

The team arrives at the Briscoe Center on a Tuesday morning around 10:30am (roughly 30 minutes after the Briscoe opens). The team is arriving unannounced; the Briscoe has received no prior notification for their visit.

The team has knowledge of the Mattel Intellivision II because the team knows about the University of Texas Videogame Archive at the Briscoe and did a search of the finding aids on TARO. A manifestation of the Mattel Intellivision II was located in the Guide to the Billy Cain Papers. Frogger is also a part of the video game library at the UTVA (Brown and Cain collections).

Reading Room: The reading room has five people already paging boxes, one of which is an out-of-town visitor who has seven boxes on hold.

Reference Archivist: The Briscoe’s Reference Archivist has an M.S.I.S. from “School” and five years of professional experience. The Reference Archivist has been on the desk for one year and currently has one reference shift per week.

Reference Pages: There are two reference pages working in the reading room when the research team arrives. One page has been working at the Briscoe for 2 years; the other has worked at the Briscoe for 3 months.

In the next post, we will tackle the first stage of the process: Stabilize and Maintain the Hardware. This step occurs before any potential UTVA user interacts with the Briscoe. In order to provide access, the artifacts need to be processed and cataloged.

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