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.
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 Berlin, Page 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 2.4: Digital Collection Storage by Material, 30 June 2012
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
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.
File and print
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.