Friday September 21, 2007

Picture Australia's new look and feel

Picture Australia is a service of the National Library of Australia that allows you to search great cultural institutions for Australian images, see pictures of Australia’s past and present (including photographs, objects, and works of art), and request print quality copies.

Picture Australia is a pioneer when it comes to engaging with online social networks. Its collection has been enriched by more than 20,000 contemporary images submitted through its Flickr groups Ourtown and People, Places and Events. And there are many benefits for the individual contributor as well.

From the Picture Australia team, here’s a more detailed update on the improvements to the site…

Great news – the new Picture Australia site is up and running! Here is a run down on key changes to our look and feel.

Home Page

The key objectives for the redesigned home page were to:

  • Focus on the most important function of the site, the search box, by increasing its size and placing it centrally
  • Juxtapose historical images from our Participating agencies with contemporary images from our Flickr groups. All these images dynamically refresh with every search displaying the wealth of visual material to be penetrated
  • Place commonly used functions in the top navigational toolbar and more general information in the bottom banner
  • Minimise text in line with a site focused on pictorial material
  • Improving the display of search results

The iconic vibrant ochre orange and signature logo of the original site have been left in tact to continue to transmit their significant references about the Australian consciousness.

Displaying Search Results

Researchers will be pleased to discover that their search results are now relevance ranked, making it much quicker and easier to sort through records. Regular researchers will note the cleanliness of the display of records and the option to change the number of records displayed on the advanced search page from 12 – 60 images at a time. Easier navigation is aided by the introduction of icons to indicate functions such as ‘Add to Favourites’, ‘Download Favourite Records’ and ‘Request a Copy’.

Advanced Searching

The simpler language on the redesigned Advanced Search page makes it easier for users to search the database. Boolean terms and search limits are now described in user friendly terms similar to Google’s Advanced Search. A search tab in the top navigation banner provides a way to combine a simple search with an agency drop down menu to facilitate quick searches of individual collections.

A new ‘research tips’ page provides information for genealogists on family history research. Teachers and students will also find there activities that build research and observation skills. University students can now develop illustration lists using Picture Australia through the bibliographic software Endnote X.

We have also made information about contributing to Picture Australia, for both organisations and individuals, easy to find from the top navigational toolbar.

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