City of Sydney reveals new Archives & History Resources catalogue

The City of Sydney Archives, which has collections dating from 1842, has revealed its new Archives & History Resources catalogue. The new catalogue will officially launch at the end of March, marking the completion of a 3-year project.

The two major achievements of the project have been the consolidation of disparate systems used to manage the archives (of which there were 13) and the implementation of new user-centred design to encourage self-service. This can be seen in the new web home page of the Archives & History Resources which features three entry points for finding information: a clear search bar for simple keywords or advanced options if required; collection images/tiles to browse through; and an interactive map. The latter was a response to user analysis which found that 80% of users were looking for items from a specific location.

The City of Sydney Archives are sizable and physically take up 12,500 metres of shelving and consist of 1 million items. The online catalogue allows people to access 450,000 items digitally, consisting of over 90,000 images. The new catalogue will also allow people to access more metadata and access free high-res digital scans. Users can also personalise their interaction by saving ‘favourites,’ ‘liking’ and sharing items, and suggesting edits.

The catalogue’s formal launch will be at the end of March and will coincide with the new exhibition Developing Sydney: Capturing Change at Customs House. The show is curated by historian Laila Ellmoos and features around 100 photographs from the collection of Sydney between 1900 and 1920.

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