Preparing for migration

Lise Summers Friday, May 8, 2015 - 15:53

Looking back over the past year and a half, I’m amazed by how much we have done, and how close we are to going live with our new system. 

A snapshot of the homepage for the new archival database system

We’ve been working with our developers, Gaia Resources, to develop a system that is responsive to client needs and meets best practice for archival description, nationally and internationally.  The end result is something which meets those requirements, but still provides opportunities for further improvement and development which would allow for a much richer research environment. Resourcing, both in terms of the system and staff and volunteer time to create and develop descriptions, will be the main challenge in taking these ideas forward.

Before we go live, we are developing a backup system for the digital objects (we are all about preservation and vital records, after all) which will keep them offsite in a replicated, secure environment. We’ve undertaken a test migration of over 700,000 items, series and agency descriptions, and checked that the data has come across from our old system. Sometimes, this has meant identifying and creating new fields for legacy data, or thinking very clearly about the way in which data is used and how meaning is derived in order to match old fields to new. We’ve made sure that formatting has been retained, and that the look and feel of all the data is consistent.

There have been staff training sessions in loading descriptions, using the system, creating reports, managing loans and search and browse techniques.  We’ve now started providing training in search and browse for our government agency clients, to enable them to better find records relating to their business concerns, and streamline the government loans process.  We’re looking to provide similar training to long term and professional researchers, and are looking for opportunities to connect with various interest groups to develop training for them. In the meantime, we have developed some online search tips and hints on the website for you to look at and familiarise yourself with the differences between our old and new systems.

Once we have all the systems in place, and the data has been tested, we’ll close down AEON and go straight to the new system. We’ve devised a 404 page, in case links break, and to get you started on the new search page.  Keep your eyes on our website, Facebook and twitter pages for more details on when the go live date will be.