On Wednesday 9 February the Manchester Digital Development Agency was the host for our focus group with members of the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society. The session was really worthwhile. Discussion covered issues including searching, licensing, downloading, commenting and tagging. The Archives+ team is very grateful to all those who participated.

Piccadilly Gardens, by L. S. Lowry
Piccadilly Gardens, by L. S. Lowry

We started off by looking at the Piccadilly and Tib Street sets and then the M&LFHS members got a chance to play with the website themselves. Comments included:

“Can I zoom in? The 600×400 resolution isn’t big enough for me to read the street sign.”

“What’s the difference between Web and Web 2.0?”

“Is there any way of automating the licensing process?”

Mr Marsden's House, Market Street Lane, c.1750
Mr Marsden's House, Market Street Lane, c.1750

“The Mr. Marsden who lived here was James Marsden (1684-1750), the grandson of Thomas Marsden (1648-1696) a wealthy merchant from Bolton.”

“What about incorrect comments or tags? How do you moderate this?”

“I can’t find what I’m looking for! Searching seems a bit haphazard. It needs a better index.”

“Can I have my own Flickr account? Can we use it to publicise our own society?”

“I remember the Woolworths fire in 1979.”

Woolworths fire, 1979
Woolworths fire, 1979

“The comments were largely irrelevant.”

“Looking back on the images of a city provides a key to memory and a picture of how your parents lived.”

“The site needs a clearer registration process and a better personalisation to Manchester.”