We are constantly looking for ways to improve the display of results. We are implementing some significant changes to the display of information that is not part of the actual description of the archive with a 'utility bar'. We also have some more minor changes happening, and these can often involve a substantial amount of work behind the scenes. The addition of links to digital content provides us with a new requirement to surface these very useful resources.
Our intention is to simplify the hit list of results on the Hub. We are going to display just the title and date. We haven't included the date before, but we believe that this, along with the title, gives the best indication to a researcher scanning down the list of results.
We are going to include a 'utility bar', with useful information that is additional to the actual description. It will have links from the brief description to the detailed description, as well as links to contact information and location.
We will also have something new. We wanted to convey more clearly the nature of the Hub as an aggregator, so we will have a link to Contact the repository in order to see these materials. The idea is to provide more help to people who want to move from the description to the content. People often believe that content will be available online, or that the Hub holds the content, so we need to dispell this idea. Furthermore, a link to see these materials is a way for us to attempt to guage how many people are interested in actually going to the repository.
Descriptions on the Hub are increasingly incorporating links to digital content. This may be in the form of embedded images, or simply links to text or audio files.
We have been discussing ways of flagging digital content, but we have struggled to come up with an effective icon to indicate this.
Most descriptions on the Hub are under 1 megabyte (roughlyequivalent to 800 pages of plain text), but some are approaching 5 metabytes, and we have even had a descriptions submitted that was 32 metabytes! These sizes cause problems for our software. The best way round this is to split the descriptions. This can also make them more manageable for users. We have implemented this using a particularl EAD tag, and you can see an example with the Robert Graves Collection, a huge descriptions where each series is essentially a detailed account. These links are quite complex to implement becauase they are not just straightforward hyperlinks; they have to work with the distributed nature of the Hub, which uses SRU for returning descriptions from Spokes, and we want them to be semantically correct so that in principle they can work outside of the Hub.