We’re very pleased to announce that legacy versions of the City’s open data sets are now available through our online database.
The City of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue has its roots in the “Open3” motion (Open Data, Open Standards and Open Source) passed by Vancouver City Council in 2009, which declared the City’s endorsement of the principles of open and accessible data, including the free sharing of data with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions without compromising privacy and security. Part of the City’s response to the motion was the launch of the Open Data website in September 2009. In 2011, the City of Vancouver was recognized by BC Business as the Most Innovative Organization in BC for the open data initiative.
British Columbia’s strong and growing open data community uses raw City data, alone or in combination with data from other sources, to identify, analyze, and present solutions to challenges facing citizens of Vancouver and BC. The data sets on the Open Data Catalogue are updated on an ongoing basis (the refresh rate varies across sets). Recognizing that retaining historical data would enable the community to identify trends and changes across time, resulting in richer analysis of civic issues, the Archives began to grab snapshots of the datasets – first semiannually, then quarterly – in order to preserve the overwritten data sets and make them available to the public. Continue reading
We are pleased to announce that we have begun preserving and providing access to crawls (snapshots) of the City’s website using Archive-It, a web application developed and managed by the Internet Archive. Archive-It uses an open-source crawler called Heritrix to crawl specific web content based on instructions provided by the user (in our case, that’s us), and the venerable Wayback Machine to provide access. Over time, the preserved crawls will show how the City’s website has changed in terms of content, look and feel.
How it works
Each crawl directs Heritrix to one or more “seed” URLs, which you can think of as the starting points of the crawl. From each seed, Heritrix browses through all links and saves any content it encounters that falls within the scoping rules for the crawl. Crawled content is saved in the WARC file format, an ISO standard for storing web content. Continue reading
NOTE: The clipboard feature described below is currently unavailable. We are working on the problem.
Our online search has been upgraded to version 2.4 of AtoM and with that has come many changes in its look and behaviour. We’d like to guide you through the major differences.
COPYRIGHTED DIGITAL OBJECTS
One of the more exciting new features is the change in your access to copyrighted digital objects. Previously, if you were searching the database from home you could only access the thumbnail of a digital object under copyright to a third party (that is, not the City of Vancouver) or of unknown copyright. If you tried to look at a larger image, you would see a warning that said “This digital object can only be accessed in person at the Archives because of the associated rights”. You would have had to come to the Archives to see the full image online.
With our upgraded system, you will now see the larger image in the full record page. Continue reading
In May, I attended the annual conferences of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and Canadian Association for Conservation (CAC), a large, joint conference in Montreal. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Florence flood, a disaster which inspired many people to become conservators, the theme was disaster preparedness. Here are a few of the highlights.
Cover of the conference program.
DIGITAL ASSESSMENT OF VIDEO WORKSHOP
I attended a full-day workshop on Digital Assessment Techniques for Video. The instructors were Kelly Haydon, Peter Oleksik and Erik Piil. We had a chance to try different types of software used to evaluate digital video files. We can use this in many situations, for example, if Continue reading
In late November, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Portland, Oregon. Here are a few of the highlights.
Portlandia at night
Once again, AMIA partnered with the Digital Library Foundation (DLF) on a one-day event where archivists and developers could work together on digital problems. This year’s award-winning projects were: Continue reading
This past November I attended iPRES 2015. iPRES is one of the foremost international conferences on digital preservation, and the conference location rotates between North America, Europe, and Asia. iPRES 2015 was hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
UNC Chapel Hill, Louis Round Wilson Library, which houses the university’s archives and special collections. Source: Ildar Sagadejev, CC-BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
iPRES 2015 was a great opportunity to learn about recent developments in digital preservation research and practice, and to swap stories and ideas with fellow archivists as well as practitioners of many other stripes. The digital preservation community is highly varied and necessarily involves the expertise of multiple professions, and one of the most satisfying elements of my time at iPRES was the chance to look at familiar problems from new angles. Continue reading
We’ve recently updated our online search to add a few new features.
In response to your suggestions, we sponsored development of an improved date search. It’s in Advanced Search, on the left sidebar. Continue reading
You may have noticed that our SearchArchives database looks a little different. For example, the information for a full record is in a more compact form, reducing the amount of scrolling you’ll have to do.
Screenshots of identical dimensions show the dramatic difference. The old version is on the left and the new one on the right.
The software has recently been upgraded to version 2.1 of AtoM. Most of the changes in the updated version affect how things are handled behind the scenes. Besides the example above, there are other changes that affect users:
Improved search times. Updates to the search index have reduced the time it takes the database to respond to your search query.
Searchable subject and place terms. There is a search box that appears on the Browse Subjects and Browse Places pages that allows you to search for specific terms, rather than just browse them. Be sure to hit the magnifying glass symbol (indicated below) to search.
Search results for subject term “building*”.
Better list of search results. There has been a change to the results algorithm that will give you results in a slightly different order.
Results of searching for “dog”. The old version is on the left and the new one on the right.
We are anticipating further improvements to our SearchArchives database with the AtoM 2.2 release later this summer.
In October, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Savannah, Georgia. Here are a few of the highlights.
One view of the vendor’s area of the conference. Photograph by Lindy Leong for AMIA
We’ve updated our online search and we think you’ll like the changes in both function and design. Here are some of the main ones.
It’s much faster. The search engine is completely new and the difference in search times is noticeable.
Simple search gives suggestions as you type a search term. This gives you another way to find holdings.