Personal Researchers are the largest user group amongst the respondents. Personal Researchers and 'other' total to over a third of the population, while Professional Archaeologists and Graduate students in FE or HE nearly make up another third and the remaining seven user groups make up the final third. Some of the user groups are far too small to make any statistically sound conclusions, while others (Personal Researchers and 'other') are, in the end, very broad and vague categories yet clearly important audiences for HEIRNET to understand. Unfortunately, a full 7% of the returned surveys had to be discounted in the breakdown of results by user group because they did not select a user group.
The natural question to ask is, are these results proportionally representative of the Archaeology and Historic Environment population? To this end, it was decided to look at the Strategies for Digital Data User Needs Survey conducted by the ADS in 1999. They mailed out questionnaires to archaeology mailing lists and to government bodies. 344 questionnaires were returned to them from individuals.
The ADS survey had 11 user groups for respondents to choose from, including an 'other/unknown' user group. When those 11 ADS survey user groups are grouped again under the HEIRNET 2005 user group headings, we can see not only that proportionally the surveys pulled in very similar responses but also some clues as to who are the members of HEIRNET's large 'other' user group. Roughly, the ADS's user group responses from largest to smallest were: Archaeologists, Other, Researchers, Students, Educators, Local Government Officers, Museums, and Non-vocational Archaeologists. This is very similar to HEIRNET's survey population despite HEIRNET having to rely on a much more random pull of respondents. Out of the 11 user groups surveyed by the ADS: national body employee (11%), HEI staff (15%), society member (10%), librarian/archivist (3%), and consultant (6%) do not fit fully under the available HEIRNET categories in this survey. These 5 groups could account for a large majority of the respondents that make up HEIRNET's 'other' group and should be considered as additional user groups in future surveys.