AAA launched its current website in June 2017—the culmination of a three-year project to revamp our digital offering and collection management. Our vision for the site was that it would be a platform that allows us to discuss, give context to, and expand upon our research, projects, collections, and content priorities. Users could also access our collections more easily, quickly, and in a broader range of ways.
Certain functions were absent in the initial launch as we had decided to work in stages, in order to be more responsive to technological developments and how people were actually using the website. We also looked at feedback from our users and our analytics to see if there were trends or other functionality we may be missing.
Over the past year, we have been developing the specifications for a set of around thirty key changes and new features. From December 2018 through to early 2019, we will begin rolling out these changes—the first of which will be implemented on the week of 10 December 2018.
Here are overviews of a few things you’ll be seeing.
Events: Over the past seventeen years, AAA has been collecting and cataloguing digital and physical materials relating to contemporary art exhibitions, happenings, festivals, and events. With our new collection management system, we created more ways for researchers to use and search for this information—which includes well over 25,000 events, ranging from smaller shows that lasted only a day, to much larger biennials.
To address the complications that arise when an event takes place in multiple venues—such as with exhibition tours—we created two databases, one for the event itself, and a related database for the venues. We also designed a visualisation that shows the events on an interactive map.
The event data is connected to our collection records, so when you look at a piece of primary source material, information on any relevant events will be displayed, too. Add this to our existing people database, and we now have four related databases: places, events, people, and our collections—among which users will be able to research new links and connections. For example, it is now possible to search for events in Hong Kong from 1980 to 1989, and also get a list that includes any participating artists, curators, and primary documentation. We hope this new information provides a more robust research experience.
Collection Display: We redesigned how you can view search results, and also revised the existing image-focused display and row view, tailoring it for researchers. In addition, we reduced the size of the thumbnails and present more of the metadata. We have also added a permanent URL link and a way of exporting a citation for any record, making it easier to generate bibliographies.
Video: We moved our organisational videos from Resources to Programmes, as most of them are in fact programme documentation—you can view these videos on their corresponding programme pages. On the Collection side, the Library Collection can now display audio and video items. We have also moved the bibliographies from Resources to the “Collection Spotlight” section under Ideas.
Search: We refined how search operates across the site, including for the Collection and Programmes sections, so that it is simpler and more accurate.
Other small changes have been implemented to correct minor issues users had with the site. Under the hood, we are also working to increase the speed of the site around the world. We hope you will enjoy the updates and improvements, and please feel free to contact us if you have any feedback.
David Smith is AAA Head of Collection & Digital Experience.
- Tue, 6 Nov 2018