Information technology (IT) is used by the Library to facilitate and support the development of new online services and to ensure that these services are cost-effective, reliable and responsive. A focus of recent years has been on developing software to support collections held in Australian libraries and other collecting institutions through the Library’s discovery and access service, Trove. The Library has also commenced a major project to replace systems used to build, preserve and deliver its digital collections. The Library uses IT to support its website and other web-publishing activities. The required IT and communication infrastructure is provided in-house.

Innovation

In 2011–12, the Library released an application programming interface (API) for Trove. The API provides an efficient mechanism for others to reuse the almost 300 million information resources for research and analysis and to build new online services. The Library also completed a project, funded by the Australian National Data Service, to extend Trove’s infrastructure, thereby improving the discovery of researchers and research organisations and the data they produce and manage. In 2011, The Australian Women’s Weekly spotlight site was released. The site is a trial interface for searching and browsing The Australian Women’s Weekly in Trove.

The Library also undertook a range of IT development activities aimed at improving its services and operations. These included changes to Copies Direct, which introduced a shopping-cart facility for users ordering copies of collection items, and an updated service providing online access to time-coded oral history transcripts, audio and summaries.

During 2011–12, social networking and mobile computing were areas of active innovation at the Library, including:

  • Joining Flickr Commons, an online space where cultural institutions from around the world can post images from their collections alongside over six billion photographs submitted by the public. The Library has subsequently seen a vast increase in use of these images compared to when they were only accessible through our website. We have also received valuable information about our images through tags and identification of places and people, sometimes verified using our digitised newspapers. 
  • Developing a Mobile Strategy to guide the introduction of mobile services.
  • Releasing mobile catalogue apps for both Apple and Android smartphones. During the first weekend after release, the iPhone catalogue app was ranked as the number one educational app in the Apple appstore.
  • Increased use of social networking blogs to engage with the wider community, including Handwritten: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Treasures from Staatsbibliothek zu BerlinPage Turners and Paddy’s Kitchen.

Infrastructure and Services

In 2011–12, the Library’s digital collection increased in size by approximately 24 per cent and has now exceeded 1.5 petabytes of storage (see Figure 2.3). The major contributor to storage growth was the digitisation of Australian newspapers (see Figure 2.4). Australian newspapers (65 per cent) dominate the storage requirements, followed by archived web pages (19 per cent) and oral history recordings (7 per cent). 

Figure 2.3: Growth in Digital Collection Storage, January 2003 to June 2012

Figure 2.3: Growth in Digital Collection Storage, January 2003 to June
        2012

Figure 2.3: Growth in Digital Collection Storage, January 2003 to June 2012 Data in Table Format
Month/YearTerabytes
Jan 0313
Jun 0316
Jan 0423
Jun 0432
Jan 0545
Jun 0551
Jan 0671
Jun 0677
Jan 07116
Jun 07122
Jan 08230
Jun 08305
Jan 09503
Jun 09572
Jan 10759
Jun 10917
Jan 111184
Jun 111266
Jan 121475
Jun 121566

Figure 2.4: Digital Collection Storage by Material, 30 June 2012

Figure 2.4: Digital Collection Storage by Material, 30 June 2012

Figure 2.4: Digital Collection Storage by Material, 30 June 2012 Data in Table Format
MaterialPercent (%)
Maps1%
Sheet Music1%
Other2%
Pictures2%
Manuscripts3%
Oral history7%
Web archive19%
Australian newspapers65%

The Library also supports substantial infrastructure to enable the discovery of, and access to, its own and other collections. Figure 2.5 shows the growth in use of the Library’s webservices since 2000. Driven by the use of digitised Australian newspapers, Trove continues to experience strong growth in web activity.

Figure 2.5: Use of Web Services, 2000–11

Figure 2.5: Use of Web Services, 2000–11

Figure 2.5: Use of Web Services, 2000–11 Data in Table Format
WebserverRequests
Year200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011
Trove         310786118432481402584501330
Australian Newspapers        12419924753068053492511164152829364
Catalogue        21380115753068053492511164152829364
Australian Research        4669967837279335336907541796652
NLA Wiki      13800671209476510307014570262637406633850650
Libraries Australia    140918335227438156141581195239839213358983264255337246316177290817167
Digital Objects  5512896118133812198499931656145527598456921662088580428169505931178137380222568807
Music Australia  1663678459639665851221087914873097272953021165818131465406629803493584738262 
Picture Australia512230411899241198850362954302148973346485209759395273412894131681320018599632106006257694532898 
PANDORA  26059087274878246076409754577585616042202901206833306760314740454337879541724615 
Library website2904496879275403127625128177199968215584053224246870269718229281328169295036959380569508438628282559229937 

In accordance with the Australian Government’s Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy, Trove underwent an accessibility audit by Vision Australia. Following the successful completion of this work, Trove meets Level AA Success Criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, thereby allowing more users to fully engage and participate with the service.

Reliable IT infrastructure is essential to the Library’s digital storage and access services. Table 2.6 shows the year’s average availability of nine key service areas. The target availability of 99.5 per cent was met for all services, except Libraries Australia, which experienced outages due to performance issues with the software component licensed by the Library and also because of storage system problems. A project to replace the software module has commenced and the storage system will be replaced in 2012.

Table 2.6: Availability of Nine Key Service Areas, 2011–12
ServiceAvailability (%)

Network

99.7

 

File and print

99.9

 

Email

99.9

 

Website

99.9

 

ILMS

99.6

 

Digital Library

99.5

 

Corporate Systems

100.0

 

Document Supply

99.8

 

Libraries Australia

99.3

 

Trove

99.5

 

Under its asset management program, the Library continued to replace and upgrade IT infrastructure.

Important developments in the reporting period included:

  • completion of the software procurement phase of the Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement project
  • provision of additional storage capacity to support the growth of the Library’s digital collection and to enable a copy to be held on spinning disk, in keeping with efficient collection management and preservation processes
  • decommissioning of Picture Australia and Music Australia, as part of the transition to Trove
  • decommissioning of the general applications Solaris server, in response to the Library’s continuing transition to Redhat Unix as the preferred web-application delivery platform, which changed how a number of smaller legacy web-based services were delivered
  • procurement and configuration of equipment for an offsite Disaster Recovery Site to improve IT business continuity (email and web services) in the case of localised outages.

An energy sustainability review of the Library’s computer room identified a number of energy reduction measures that can be implemented in subsequent years.