Big changes in 2016

Yikes. It's the middle of March already. How did that happen? The year is speeding by and we thought it was high time to share some projects we have in the pipeline.

2016 is going to be a big year for us. We are making changes to www.digitalnz.org which will include exciting features and functionality, as well as the addition of existing National Library services into DigitalNZ. Our detailed plans and reports are available for you to read any time, but here’s a run down of the main areas.

www.digitalnz.org refresh

All of our work this year is underpinned by a major refresh of www.digitalnz.org. We've had feedback from people using the search service, and our content partners, that the website is looking a little tired, and a little...brown. So we're giving it a redesign, but also, we're taking a good look at the search filters and tabs, and trying to make the experience of searching on www.digitalnz.org more intuitive and fun.

We're going to to be releasing new versions of the website at regular intervals throughout the year, and we'd love your help and feedback, so stay tuned.

Dnz Search Box

Metrics dashboard

This one is especially for our awesome content partners (and any other interested people!). We've been working away on a special metrics dashboard which will show interesting stats and analytics relating to specific collections on DigitalNZ. For example:

How often are Auckland Museum's records seen in search results on www.digitalnz.org?

Are they frequently used in sets?

Which collections have recently been updated with new items?

How many new sets were made in the last week?

The dashboard will provide insight into how collections are seen and interacted with on both www.digitalnz.org and via the DigitalNZ API.

Concepts

Late last year, we released the Concepts API. This API uses the metadata of several of our content partners to provide a linked data service, and an important part of the refresh of www.digitalnz.org will be to incorporate these linkages into the new search service. The first version of this will focus on people, and provide an enriched search experience which will easily link together people and their works.

Concept Ball

Image: A visualisation of 4,000 people and 80,000 associated records, from the metadata of five memory institutions. Clusters of dots represent works linked with a particular person.

Sets turn into stories

We can't believe sets were launched all the way back in 2012. We love our talented community of set-makers who collect together and share items on www.digitalnz.org. This year we're going to be updating and improving sets on www.digitalnz.org and, because they're going to change quite dramatically, we're now calling them stories. They'll be much more flexible, and will allow you to add text alongside items, play with the layout, and also upload your own items!

Upload features & collaborative community repositories

Uploading material to www.digitalnz.org for your stories is part of a wider change we are making, which is to deliver the National Library's Aotearoa People's Network Kete (APNK) features through DigitalNZ. The APNK Ketes are online digital repositories which are hosted on behalf of public libraries around New Zealand and make it easier for people to digitise and share their own personal archives and memories.

The Kete project is based on open source software which is no longer supported, and thousands of amazing digital items are now at risk. So, we are working with a reference group to develop a collaborative community repository service which will sit within the new www.digitalnz.org. This will allow people to upload and share their own material, build stories and enrich metadata around that material, and take part in a community with a shared interest.

The video below gives a brief overview of how the service might work, and you can also find more information at this National Digital Forum presentation.

Enlisting your help

You can see we've got a lot on the go, and we're excited about what 2016 has in store.

It's worth noting that we'll work our darndest to release all the new features, but, like the best laid plans, this one is fluid, and there're likely to be some changes as the year progresses. It's also important to mention that we'll be aiming to release new features frequently, sometimes with only a few small changes, in order to get your feedback to make them better. As such, not everything will be perfect first time, and we appreciate your patience and help in honing the new services.

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Image: Image from page 404 of "Te Karere" (1907), the Internet Archive, https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14579737038

We definitely can't do this alone, and we'll be asking for your feedback all along the way. If you'd ever like to get in contact with us please do at info@digitalnz.org, and stay tuned to this blog, our Twitter feed, or our Facebook page for regular updates.