TM, Challenges facing researchers at KNA with current reference system

TM: Here we see as an insider looking out on the way in which researchers at KNA struggle to find the data they require at KNA. So we look at a sample of Maasai community archival users owing to an important to them, i.e., land. We see how this important aspect of their lives following land lease settlement with pre-colonial British at expiry is most dependant on the efficiency of the KNA infrastructure. The efficincy of KNA record managment system comes under the microscope as it demonstrates how important archival records are in the lives of the people they are supposed to be there for.

" ...with the recent expiration of the controversial Maasai Land treaty, an agreement through which the British colonial government acquired Maasai lands for settler development for a period of 99 years, elders from Maasai communities are searching the KNA collection for information to aid their campaigns to reclaim the leased lands.

According to the KNA staff, many of these elderly patrons are semi-literate or illiterate, and their lack of skills only exacerbates the difficulties which challenge the professional researcher and casual user. While search room staff is willing to help all patrons, KNA staff limitations prevent the search room archivists from providing specialized help to these patrons and require that the patrons bring their own reading assistants. In addition, colonial documents pertaining to these cases contain significant spelling discrepancies, and numerous place and proper names have been changed since the colonial era, making it difficult for the casual user to trace people, places, and events. In such circumstances, many of the KNA's users leave frustrated, and empty-handed."


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