What have we been up to?

Pulling it all together

For the past few years you’ve used sites like Find, Timeframes, Publications New Zealand, and Discover to do things like search our collections and order images.

Your feedback told us that it was often hard knowing where to start searching our collections or use a service. Clearly, we had to make some changes.

Man fixing a flagpole, 1956 I still say putting the server way up there was a good idea. Man fixing a flagpole, 1956. Ref: EP/1956/1677-F

The Beta itself is part of the answer – like Find, you can search right across the collections; like Timeframes, you can order copies of images.

But the job’s not done until you can do everything you did before as well or better. Here are some of the improvements we’ve made since May.

Subscription e-resources

The library subscribes to a whole lot of outside online databases to enhance our collections. By using our subscription, you can find and read articles from various journals, magazines, newspapers and other electronic publications.

It’s a hassle to go through each database one by one, so to smooth the path we’ve added a new feature that gives you a central place to search groups of these resources.

To give it a shot, put in a search term and choose a group of resources from the dropdown menu. Each database in that group is then searched, and the results are pulled in for you.

You can see your search results from anywhere, but in many cases the terms of our subscriptions mean you can only view the full text of the results when you’re in the Library. So come for a visit!

Publications New Zealand

Need to know what is being published in New Zealand or by New Zealanders? Publications New Zealand is our National Bibliography (affectionately known as PubsNZ). You can now search it.

It’s still got a few kinks (not all the records are there just yet) but you can try out the basic functionality.

Each record in PubsNZ has a link saying “This item in New Zealand libraries” – try it from this record. This takes you to the New Zealand Libraries Catalogue, which lists all the libraries around the country that hold the item and makes it easy to pick up a copy.

Ordering enhancements

We’ve been steadily tinkering with our image ordering process. It’s a complex process but we’ve made it a lot smoother and more functional since it was released earlier this year.

Image usage

When you make an order, many images have to be checked by staff for their usage restrictions, which takes time. Now on the shopping cart page (click Checkout on your cart) you can choose how you intend to use it – personal, educational, commercial – and provide any helpful details.

Getting that information right at the start helps the staff at the other end, and gets you your images faster.

The real strength of the new system will be shown soon: if your ordered image has already been okayed for your chosen use, you can download it immediately.

However, that’s new information that has to be added to the record. With hundreds of thousands of digital images, that’s going to take a little while. Bear with us!

Pay on invoice

Do you order images on behalf of an organisation? Now you have the choice to request payment by invoice.

If your organisation is approved we’ll provide any available images then and there, and send out an invoice in due course.

Request to view

If an item isn’t digital how do I get to see it? If you can make it in to our Wellington Reading Room then some items are available physically. Imagine that – a real book!

We’ve added a Request to view button on a number of items. From August 6 (when we open again at Molesworth Street), registered users of the library can use their reader card to login. This will kick off a request and the item will be available in the Reading Room shortly after.

For now, you still need separate logins for Beta and requesting items, but we’re working on something more straightforward.

How’s our driving?

Christine Foxall with petition signatures, ca 1970 Ref: EP/1970/0489/26A-F

We’re always keen to hear what you think of the site and new features we add. You can submit your comments and ideas through the feedback form – it’s hanging out on the left of your screen.

We check out the latest submissions regularly, answering any questions we can and considering possible new developments. We’ve already acted on ideas such as indicating out of copyright material (not yet visible but coming), improving the performance of the Gallery view, adding an events section, and adding more subject guides.

By Rowan Payne

Rowan is a Digital Services Manager in DigitalNZ.

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