Changes to the Community Archives website
Our new website has been up and running since June 2019. We’re really proud of it – it's modern, secure and more accessible than our old website.
Part of this work includes the retirement of several of our other websites that are no longer secure or editable. These include the National Collection of War Art, Audiovisual Archives, Online Regional Exhibitions, and the Community Archive.
Our team have also been working hard to modernise and relaunch some of the content from these websites into our new website. Check out some of this work, such as the refreshed National Collection of War Art, which is fully searchable and beautifully displayed. We will continue to work on ways to display this content on our new website in a modern and accessible way.
Recently, our web team have created a new, up-to-date directory of community-held archives in New Zealand. We’re really proud to launch this today on our website.
We’ve included a directory function and a map, which allows you to discover sources of archival material across the country.
The new directory has been updated with current contact information and organisational websites but does not include any listings for individuals. We need to gain permission from those individuals and will be contacting them directly for this. If you want your collection included in the directory or your organisation’s listing needs updating, please get in touch with us. We are able to edit the new directory data at any time.
We developed the Community Archive website as a hub for New Zealand’s archival organisations to manage and showcase their collections over a decade ago. Some organisations continue to use the site for this purpose, but many provide only contact details and general overviews of their collections. Many of them now also have their own catalogues and websites. The Community Archives website has a low visit rate per year, with those who do visit spending only a short time on the site before leaving.
With all of this mind, we have made the difficult decision to close the Community Archives website. The site will close on 4 May 2020.
Read more about why we’re making this change in the FAQ below.
Frequently asked questions
What is the Community Archive?
The Community Archive is an online tool maintained by Archives New Zealand to support the discoverability of community-held documentary heritage collections.
It provides an online directory of individuals and organisations, including voluntary and community-run organisations, to let people know that these organisations and research collections exist.
It also promotes the nature, extent and range of specific collections under each organisation’s care.
It is an online directory for documentary heritage collections held in communities. It is not a repository of the item-level descriptive records nor a repository of the actual full text items.
Why is the website being closed?
The Community Archive was developed around a decade ago and the age of the software and the server it sits on have made it increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain.
The website operates on an old platform which requires specific skills to maintain and is no-longer supported by the provider. The platform has not been supported for a number of years, which means that we are unable to create new features for the site, fix any bugs that arise or be confident that the site is secure. The stability of our sites is incredibly important to us, especially when we are hosting personal information. Many of you will be aware that we have been unable to restore edits rights for contributors for some time now. For these reasons we have made the difficult decision to retire the website.
Modest remediation works have been undertaken where possible to ensure software updates are applied, core functionality and environments are maintained, and the data protected. However, the more recent loss of editing functionality has reinforced that the site is beyond complete repair.
Our research has also shown that the approach of the site is outdated, and while it makes public the collections of some community-based organisations, it does not connect people with the items themselves. Visitation and use metrics indicate some level of need for the register function, however usage is very low by normal online standards.
The Community Archives acts a registry of archival collections, will that aspect remain?
Yes, the registry aspect has been revised and published as a directory on our website. The Community Archives website has been harvested by the National Library’s Web Archiving programme and can be accessed through the National Library’s catalogue.
The Otago/Southland branch of ARANZ has recently completed a revision of the Directory of Archives in New Zealand for the Otago/Southland region (PDF, 695KB). We’ve included their updated data in our new directory too.
When will the closure of the Community Archives website be completed?
The closure will be completed by 30 June 2020. Appropriate tikanga will be employed for the closure of the site and server.
What will happen to my data on the website?
No data will be lost as a result of this change. Organisational and collection data will be available upon request in the .CSV format and as an Excel spreadsheet. If you would like a copy of your data, please contact us.
Can I make updates to my information on the website before it is closed?
There will be no restoration of the edit functionality to external users and no further updates are able to be made by Archives staff. The administrator has completed most of the editing updates requested from May 2018 onward.
We’ve done our best to ensure the information on the revised directory is current but if you have an update you’d like made, please email email@example.com. The National Library have harvested the website and it is available through the New Zealand Web Archive.
My private collection used to be on the Community Archive website but isn’t on the revised directory, what has happened?
We’ve not included any personal contact information in the revised directory, to protect personal privacy. We’ll be in touch with you to confirm whether you want to have your collection listed on the revised directory. You can also email us with your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there other cataloguing options available to my organisation that can replace the Community Archive website?
Yes. There are a number of options on the market.
For organisations where there may not be a budget for software, we recommend considering a free, standards-based archival description and open source software. PARBICA recommends AtoM.
With the nation in lockdown, this seems like suspicious timing to close a website, why are you doing it now?
We began looking at options for the future of the Community Archives website in 2018. Because of the status of the platform and server and the use of the site, ultimately it was agreed that the site would not be developed as part of the project to build our new website but instead would be archived and closed.
Planning for the closure started in 2019 and as our website project is due to wrap up by 30 June 2020, all associated tasks, like closing down old websites, must be completed by then too.
At the suggestions of some key stakeholders in 2019, we developed a new directory on our website, to replace that aspect of the Community Archive website.
Does this decision go against the Chief Archivist’s mandated leadership role in the sector?
The Chief Archivist does have a leadership role in the sector, however the role is focused on information management and archival management practice, not collection management.
The Chief Archivist is joined in this leadership role by a number of others, such as the National Librarian and the National Preservation Office. Other examples include other national collecting institutions, such as Te Papa and National Services Te Paerangi, which is mandated to provide practical and strategic help to museums and galleries and iwi.
The changing documentary heritage and online landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand has meant there is now duplication of effort and offerings. A high-level conversation with national collecting institutions is underway to determine a better way to collaborate and work in a more joined up manner.
Last updated on 02 April 2020