Custom-built software system to house archives dating back to 1820s

More than 40 km of records moved to .Net platform

Queensland State Archives (QSA), custodian of the state's largest collection of public records, is set to commence stage two of its world-class catalogue software system.

Building on a partnership that began more than 10 years ago, QSA is working with TechnologyOne, to modernise the state's public records to ensure archives are catalogued and easily accessed by the public.

The custom-built next generation software project began 12 months ago.

Director and state archivist of Queensland, Janet Prowse, said as technology advanced the organization needed to improve its business processes.

"We have developed a collection management software system that not only provides information about archival public records, but allows us to offer online access to digitised copies of these wonderful resources," she said.

"We recognised there was a need for QSA to move its catalogue forward to support access to digital content, but we found there to be few off-the-shelf solutions available that would meet our requirements.

"QSA engaged TechnologyOne to develop our first system in 1997 which proved so popular that some other archival authorities across Australia went on to purchase it."

Designed for use by archivists at QSA to catalogue and manage the organisation's extensive collection - close to 40km of records dating as far back as the 1820s - ArchivesOne enables better descriptions of public records while the public interface, ArchivesSearch, provides fast and easy access to those records via an online catalogue.

"Our goal was to move the application to the .Net platform which would enable us to leverage its design capacity to support recent changes in our organisation's business processes," she said.

"We also wanted to develop greater functionality, particularly in the online catalogue and around digitised images of analogue records available to the Queensland community, including school students, academics, social researchers and commentators, community groups, historians and genealogists."

One of the most important features of the new ArchivesSearch online catalogue is its ability to display digital images relevant to item descriptions, a feature not available with the former system.

Work is currently being conducted by QSA and TechnologyOne to create a new Web presence to showcase QSA's holdings.

Although this project is yet to be completed, a proportion of the collection's photographs are already searchable online.

Prowse said QSA allocated about a year to the project, bringing together a team of inhouse representatives who worked with the vendor throughout the process.

She said implementation went well and is probably a reflection of the attention to detail from team members and the clarity of the logical design work, as well as the rigour applied to user acceptance testing.

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