Friday, 19 September 2014

Online catalogue

A key element of the History Centre from the outset was that our on-line catalogue offered the ability to search our collections via a single search box. 

This we did when the History Centre opened in January 2010 but with mixed results - the local studies library data in particular was difficult to integrate as they used different fields and different conventions. Presenting the archive reference number and the library shelfmark in the same "Reference No" field removed the ability for this field to be sorted - but we thought that this was a far better option that keeping the data separate and having lots of empty fields on the results page.
Current advanced search page for our on-line catlaogue
We were also aware that when looking at the results many people clicked on 'view' hoping to get an image of the archive and not just further information about that item - again a compromise as we sought to keep things as simple as possible. 

We are now conducting some consultation as we look to move to a new look and feel for our online catalogue. We are keen to keep things as easy to use as we can but also aware that by offering better searching facilities our users will have a better chance of finding items relevant to their specific enquiry especially as we now have descriptions of over 330,000 items on-line and more added on a daily basis. 

We welcome comments and feedback by the end of September on the current system.

Do you find it easy to use - if so why, if not why not? 
Do you usually find the information you are looking for?  
Are there things you would like to do but can’t? 
How does it compare with other archive catalogues you use?

Simon Wilson
Senior Archivist

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Lunch Time Club Talk and Exhibition

Well the family activity events have finished for the summer. Over the 4 sessions 334 people dropped in and good times were had by all! If you want to see what we got up to have a peak at the image galleries on our website. 

But the fun isn’t over! 

As the events have been so successful we will be running 3 more before the end of the year – so keep an eye on our events pages.

We also have the Lunch Time Club talk coming up on 9th September. We will be talking about the FJ project and our progress to date in more detail, there will be illustrative slides, and Simon and I will be there to chat to after the talk. As an added incentive, to mark the occasion, we will be showing a mini exhibition of Francis Johnson & Partners material. 

A highlight will be an illustrated journal recording a Grand Tour of Europe made by Francis Johnson in 1931. The pages are full of entries recording places he visited and illustrations of architectural details and buildings he saw on his travels. The journal is in private ownership and has been kindly loaned to us for the occasion. When the project launches next August there will be a digitised copy available for research use, but this is a unique opportunity to see the original in all its beauty!

'Diary of My Journey with the Leeds Travelling Scholarship for Architecture 1931'
The exhibition will run for two weeks from the 9th September so don’t miss out. We hope to see you there!

Claire Weatherall, Project Archivist