About Archives Central

Archives Central is a searchable database of the collection of nine regional and district council's archives sourced from participating New Zealand local authorities. Archives Central strives to make council archives accessible for council teams, researchers and the community.


Archives Central as a Local Authority Shared Service

The Archives Central database is one of the outcomes of the Regional Archives Project through MW LASS Ltd (Manawatū-Whanganui Local Authority Shared Services Ltd). It is an online digital repository for listing member council’s archival collections and making digital versions of them available. The Whanganui District Council and Palmerston North City Council manage their own archival storage. The other seven councils have placed their archives in a shared facility in Feilding.


About the Digital Repository

The original Archives Central Digital Repository was run on Kete open-source software developed by Horowhenua Library Trust and managed by Katipo Communications Ltd. That site has been archived by the Team and is now hosted by the National Library for use by future web researchers. The Kete site is hosted on National Library can be viewed here.

In early 2020 Archives Central undertook a full redevelopment of its digital repository. Continuing to engage our open-source roots, we migrated to the Drupal-based Islandora8 framework in order to utilise other open-source services with a large, international pool of developers. Archives Central was one of the first institutions in the world to implement Islandora8, with the platform being upgraded to Drupal 9 in late 2021. Archives Central is also one of the first institutions globally to adopt the Records-in-Context Conceptual Model (RiC-CM) for the description of records.

New features of the Archives Central site include:

  • Mobile and tablet-friendly platform.
  • Solr enterprise-search platform for indexing, replication and load-balanced querying. Advanced search functionality returns relevant items which can be filtered according to Council, Record, Content and Media Type and Date.
  • Enhanced browsability via listings for Agents, Accessions, Series and Records. These can be accessed at any point via the yellow ribbon at the top of the site.
  • A modern, zoomable, high resolution web-based viewer for digitised items via OpenSeaDragon. Crystal-clear images are maintained via Cantaloupe dynamic image server.
  • The creation of a new ontology via the Records in Contexts Conceptual Model (RiC-CM). The model was adopted to make full use of Worldwide Web 3.0 (or Semantic Web). RiC-CM also enables machine-readable internet data and provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries.
  • To better exploit RiC-CM, a dedicated Triplestore database utilising Blazegraph has been created, allowing a range of relations to be built between Agents, Series and Records over time and convey the benefits of Linked Data and the Semantic Web.
  • Updated licensing via the use of Creative Commons 4.0 and Rights Statements.

The digital repository is well-positioned to continue to preserve metadata, adapt for future born-digital content transfers and adhere to international standards. Over time, Archives Central will add more features to empower our users and make full use of the system.

Below is a case study presentation on Archives Central from Catalyst IT.