"Say hello to the Archives Viewer (naming things isn't really one of my strengths). Instead of rewriting my existing script I decided to create a completely new web application. Why? Mainly because it gave me a lot more flexibility. I could also make use of a variety of existing tools and frameworks like Django, Bootstrap, Isotope and FancyBox. Standing upon the code of giants, I had the whole thing up and running in a single weekend. The code is available on GitHub.
What does it do? Simply put, just feed the Archives Viewer the barcode of a digitised file in RecordSearch and it grabs the metadata and images and displays them in a variety of useful ways. It's really pretty simple, both in execution and design.
Yep, there's a wall. It's not quite as spacey and zoom-y as the CoolIris version, but perhaps that's a good thing. It's just a flat wall of page image thumbnails with a bit of lightbox-style magic thrown in. But when I say just, well... look for yourself. There's something a bit magical about seeing all the pages of a file at once, taking in their shapes and colours as well as their content. This digital wall provides a strangely powerful reminder of the physical object.
Of course you can also view the file page by page if you want. Printing is a snap - just type in any combination of pages or page ranges and hit the button. The images and metadata are assembled ready to print. No more wondering 'which file did this print out come from?'.
But perhaps the most important feature is that each page has it's own unique, persistent url. Basic stuff, but oh, so important. With a good url you can share and cite. Find something exciting? Tell the world about it! I've included your typical social media share buttons to help you along."
(Tim Sherratt, 29 August 2012)
"This proposal is to research and develop techniques for visualising, or mapping, archival collections in a way that supports their management, administration and use. The specific aim is to develop techniques for revealing context: the patterns, high-level structures and connections between items in a collection.
The practical outcomes of the project will be prototype interactive, browsable maps of the National Archives collection that apply these techniques at different structural levels:
1. A map of the whole collection, at Series level, will show the 'big picture': the size, scope and historical distribution of different series, the relations between series, and their corresponding Agencies and functions.
2. A more detailed map will focus, as a test case, on a single series (A1), accumulating data from individual records to reveal the distinctive 'shape' of that series.
The issue of navigating large digital collections is current and significant; interestingly some prominent American researchers have recently announced a broadly related project. This project is highly innovative; by supporting it, the Archives would take a leading position in the field. The project would be extensively documented and well disseminated, drawing an international audience."
(Mitchell Whitelaw, 30 July 2008)
Fig.1 Visible Archive Series Browser