Treasure Trove

An 'object-centred' approach to mapping Australia's largest database of cultural heritage

  • digital
  • archives
  • search engine

The past decade has seen information technologies, digital capabilities and consumer expectations advance in leaps and bounds leaving deeply rooted search systems on the back foot. Modernising a collaborative countrywide archive is no easy feat but the National Library of Australia (NLA) had future generations in mind. Craig Walker was approached to delve into the depths of Trove, NLA’s online destination for search and access, and pave the way for future generations to connect with the digital discovery tool.

We visited the National Library of Australia archives and talked to a variety of teams and divisions to understand the people, processes and artefacts behind the data.

“That enabled us to have a conversation, not about the best way to give people information, but the best way to design the service so the users enjoy the service as well.”

Craig Walker embarked on an independent evaluation of Trove’s values and capabilities against what it has the potential to become. Building from an immersion into Trove’s current state of operation for end users and partners, locally and globally, Craig Walker created a comprehensive set of service design recommendations known as the Trove Atlas, mapping a system from complex collections of indexed objects and exploring the pathways to access it. Craig Walker’s deep dive into Trove unveiled key relationships between sixty-nine objects, user intent and navigation complexity.

We ran workshops with GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector partners to understand their priorities for improving Trove.

Craig Walker’s recommendations for Trove have acted as the catalyst for NLA to blow the dust off their overarching brand and once sophisticated system to set the new standard for a centralised national service of search, discovery and access.