“Thanks to DigitalNZ I've sourced a large number of items from a huge combined resource online without once having to leave my chair”
José Barbosa, The Spinoff
Easy access to Kiwi culture online
DigitalNZ is a one-stop search site where you can find, collect and share Kiwi culture online. The site gives easy access to videos, photos, artworks, ads, interviews, news stories, maps and more; over 30 million items from more than 200 content partners.
DigitalNZ currently uses Supplejack to harvest, search and share 30 million metadata records
More than 200 content partners share their resources with DigitalNZ
The DigitalNZ website has an average of 320 active users every day
The problem to be solved
To give access to all these digital goodies, the National Library needed to harvest varied content from disparate sources, standardise, index and present the content for easy searching, and distribute it freely via an open API. They wanted to do this at scale with legacy tools that were fragile, hard for the business to use, and costly to update.
Seeing an exciting opportunity to create something special, we prototyped a completely new solution in our own time. This showed what was possible and the product owner asked us to move this into production.
Award-winning solution to complex problems
Harvests can now be set up and managed by staff with minimal training, speeding up the process. The new database infrastructure is robust and scalable. We rebuilt the tool in Ruby on Rails, which is designed to facilitate rapid development; as a result, it’s easier and cheaper to enhance. And being open source, the tool enhances the Library’s position as leaders in open data.
The resulting Supplejack platform is an award-winning world-first, adopted by local agencies such as Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision and international players including a Canadian collaboration between Ontario’s OurDigitalWorld and the British Columbia Library Association’s Provincial Digital Library.
Agile approach enhances experience
As DigitalNZ’s full-stack development partner, we’ve redesigned the site to improve the user experience. Our Agile approach allows us to make constant improvements based on user feedback; a feature called Sets—user-generated collections—was so popular we expanded it into Stories, letting you write about your collection and enrich the tale it tells.
We also provided Agile coaching to the DigitalNZ team, taking advantage of our position as leading Agile trainers to build client capability.