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  • Writer's pictureRob

Findings and recommendations: Imperial Archive on Scarif

(The following is an excerpt from a study commissioned by the Imperial Archives and Records Management Division. Ironically, it was never read because the intended audience wasn't able to locate it in the archive and eventually gave up in frustration.)

Executive Summary

Our team of experts conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with the staff, spent weeks observing the normal operations of the facility, and conducted an in-depth analysis of the most common tasks and workflows at the Imperial Archive located on Scarif. Our final analysis determined that while the amount of information stored in the archive is indeed impressive, there are a number of improvements that could be made to simplify the retrieval of information there. In fact, some of the tasks are so difficult that the staff have adopted a running joke: "If the rebels ever do get in here, at least they won't be able to find what they're looking for."

Detailed recommendations are laid out below.

Automatic retrieval of search results

In most modern information systems, a program handles the retrieval of the information requested by the user. Forcing a user who is looking for a record to operate machinery to manually retrieve it is a... curious design decision. In addition, a malfunction of the robotic arms could result in a user being forced to climb up the data store itself, which would be extremely silly and potentially dangerous situation.

Recommendation: Replace the... unique system in place at Scarif with a normal database search. If this is too costly a measure, at least look into programming the existing robotic arm mechanism to automatically locate the desired records, rather than requiring manual operation.

Allow preview of content in data files

Our interviews revealed numerous cases in which someone located a record, used the robotic arm to retrieve it, and only then discovered that they had retrieved the wrong record. For example, one officer was looking for his file entitled "SECRET PLANS" but, due to some redundant file names, had to spend hours manually retrieving files until he actually found the desired file: "SECRET PLANS (17)."

Recommendation: Include a short preview of the file content with the index. Forcing users to retrieve information using the file name alone is a recipe for frustration, especially in conjunction with the previous finding.

Dish calibration controls should be located close to transmission controls

The transmission dish is indeed a powerful tool and a wonder of engineering. But many of the staff had complaints about the work required to actually use the transmitter, and the danger involved in its operation: at least five stormtroopers fell to their deaths last year while to aligning the dish.

Recommendation: Instead of having the alignment controls located on a perilous platform far from the transmission controls, include both in a single control panel. We were not able to conceive of any advantage to having the alignment controls separated.

Long term recommendation

In the long term, we recommend a complete redesign of the entire storage and transmission facility. Ideally, a user with the proper clearance should be able to enter the facility and sit a single terminal which would facilitate searching, previewing, and transmitting data all as part of a single operation. We estimate that such a system would improve efficiency by as much 500% and could reduce the number of staff needed to operate the facility, as well as reducing the number of ladders required and keeping falling deaths at acceptable levels.

(Special note for Lord Vader: If you are reading this, please do not choke the messenger. We are only reporting on what we found and none of this is our fault. We swear)


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