Thursday, 27 June 2013

Exploring the Digital Landscape: Looking For Input

We are starting a process of looking at the New Zealand Electronic Text Collection.
Over the last couple of years we have tinkered around the edges giving it a new url, rebranding and shifting to a new server environment. We are now however due for an overhaul of the site from the bottom up.
We have a number of aims with this overhaul:
  • Presenting our information in a better more user friendly manner.
  • Making the site more responsive to corrections.
  • Ensuring the future of the environment so that the underlying core infrastructure is robust and flexible.
  • Enhancing the usability of the resources.
  • Engaging with the users through the ability for community annotations and comments.
  • Ensuring that the site delivers metadata in a way that engages with the semantic web. 
  • Better integration with the library web presence.
So nothing too ambitious there. 

What I am looking for with this post is twofold.

Firstly I am looking for comments from users about what they currently use the NZETC for and also what they dislike about the NZETC. What would users like to see the NZETC do?

Secondly, as I am researching our options for the NZETC, I am interested in other sites that are doing similar things. If you know of any cool sites let me know. Also I would be interested in hearing about people’s experiences with different types of infrastructure.

Please post any comments to our blog or email Michael Parry, Digital Initiatives Co-ordinator.


  1. Hi Michael and the NZETC Team,

    Just responding to your request for feedback.

    In my research over the few years, I have regularly turned the NZETC as a source. I find the range and types of titles very helpful for NZ historical study. The digital texts are also accurate enough to be cited and quoted. I certainly appreciate they are not simple OCR texts.

    Nonetheless, I would probably use NZETC much more if searching wasn't such a frustrating experience. Certain kinds of simple searches do not seem to be catered for and using the Google option doesn't always help. For instance, today I wanted to search for certain words in all the titles by the writer James Cowan. The only way to do this seemed to be to bring up the list of works by Cowan, then do an "in this document" or page search for each separate work.

    I think an "advanced search" page where one could define multiple search terms (as found on most library catalogues) would be a tremendous benefit.

    As it is, the "search"/"refine your search" structure operates in a way that feels counter-intuitive in 2013. Often I find myself confronted with massive lists of results and no option for refining them how I want.

    Hope this feedback is help and the redevelopment goes well.

    Best wishes,

  2. Hello
    I am also responding to your request for feedback- I agree with the comments above. I find it difficult to 'go up a level' , to get a feel for the whole context of a publication. Also could illustrations be included (or perhaps they are and I can't find them?)
    I have sourced one of your pages in my blog and am not sure if I have done so correctly- please see

    I greatly value what you are doing with this collection, thank you very much and for the opportunity to make suggestions.


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