Just over a year ago now, Queensland State Archives (QSA) went live with their new “archiving ecosystem” that was implemented by Gaia Resources (along with our consortium partners from Hudson Molonglo and Recordkeeping Innovation). It was the culmination of two years of collaboration with QSA through the Digital Archiving Program (DAP). The archiving ecosystem – known colloquially as “Archie” – consists of three separate systems:
- ArchivesSearch as the public’s interface for searching the archives,
- ArchivesGateway as the secure portal for agencies to search their records and access QSA services, and
- ArchivesSpace as the internal Archival Management System.
A year (particularly this year) is a significant milestone, and one that is important to celebrate – so the local Brisbane team for this project came together in recognition of everything we have achieved. Talking to the team at QSA, it was marvellous to see how happy they are with the improvements implemented under our ongoing support model, including positive feedback on the uptake over the last year by the public and agency users. Through our collaborative approach with QSA we are constantly working on new improvements and enhancements that can ensure the system continues to meet their needs into the future. Being a part of the important role archives play in connecting the public with our past.
We were all pleased and excited to reach the milestone of a year since these services went live, although it was hard to tell if it felt like the last year has been longer or shorter than it should have been! Partially due to the collaborative nature of our development approach, in the lead up to the COVID-19 pandemic we were all very used to physically working together with the staff at QSA – regularly running sessions onsite to get feedback from their team and to support their transition to the new systems. While lockdowns and restrictions early last year did force a shift in our approach (as Piers wrote about recently with another series of lockdowns around the country), we all knew that the shift to digital was both possible and important to the delivery of these services.
Throughout the pandemic, organisations have been seeking new ways to bring their services to a public who cannot access traditional on-site support. From feedback from the QSA staff on how readily ArchivesSearch has assisted the public in accessing services from home we know this project has helped to prepare QSA for a more digital future.
There are so many people who have been a part of this project’s development and ongoing support, but the celebrations at QSA were smaller (only in number attending, not in spirit) due to COVID restrictions. For me it highlighted one of the core benefits (and challenges) to delivering this project, and that is providing digital solutions that can connect people to services.