Graeme Hairsine, Assistant Director, Corporate Services

Author: Graeme Hairsine

A message to all of our researchers, agency colleagues and institutional partners

Many of you will be aware that in recent months we have been severely impacted by technology problems that have affected your ability to undertake online research of our collection. There have been periods of slowness, system time-outs and unplanned outages to our collection search tool.

I want to acknowledge to you all that I know this is really frustrating for you. It's also really frustrating for me, and for my colleagues here at PROV who are absolutely committed to making our unique collection as discoverable and usable as possible. We always foresaw the decline of our current technology over time and have been planning to introduce new technology in time to avoid the issues that we're now experiencing. Unfortunately the rate of that decline has been faster than we predicted. I want to share with you what we're doing about this issue.

In the short term we're focussing on the most acute causes of our online service problems and planning to put in place solutions to last us for the short- to medium-term. The aim is to stabilise our existing online services as much as possible given the technology involved. This will go part of the way to resolving the problems, but there will still be ad hoc slowness and the occasional unplanned outage. We're aiming to minimise these disruptions.

In the medium term we're planning for an entirely new online environment. We're already well under way with our collection systems transformation program and will be launching our new website around the middle of this year. That will improve the navigation of our site tremendously, and will be the first component of our new collection systems environment. We'll also be progressively introducing more online functionality, with better search facilities and results presentation capabilities.

In the long term we will be replacing all of the core systems that deliver online services to you. We will have a new website supported by a new security environment. We will deliver a sophisticated and elegant search capability that will deliver online content more quickly and reliably. The environment will be more highly available at all times. This is our commitment to you.

In the meantime please continue to keep us informed of any system issues. Your reports assist us to verify that our short-term solutions continue to keep the service running for you all. We will shortly introduce a more streamlined way for you to register all issues that you experience but until then feel free to contact us via our usual channels: Facebook, Twitter and our website.

Thank you.