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UC launches QuakeStudies 2.0

UC launches QuakeStudies 2.0

The University of Canterbury (UC), which first launched its world-leading digital archive documenting the Canterbury earthquakes in 2012, has released its new, improved UC QuakeStudiesresearch repository.

QuakeStudies is an online repository and UC’s contribution to the CEISMIC programme. Maintained by the UC Arts Digital Lab, it holds collections of photographs, documents, videos, audio recordings, and media articles relating to the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes. The online repository has around 135,000 items available for public viewing and use, plus around 12,000 items for use by approved researchers.

UC Lecturer Dr Christopher Thomson is the UC Digital Humanities programme manager with an interest in the digitisation of archival collections.

“Many people have questioned whether New Zealand is doing enough to learn from the Canterbury Earthquakes and prepare for future disasters,” he says.

“By documenting a wide range of experiences both from individuals and organisations, QuakeStudies will support research and greater community understanding of how we have adapted and rebuilt since 2010.”

Material stored in QuakeStudies is accompanied by high-quality human-curated metadata such as descriptions, geolocations, and dates and times, offering rich datasets for researchers from a range of disciplines to draw on.

The new QuakeStudies platform has enhanced searchability, improved document viewing tools, and a cleaner, more user-friendly layout, offering greater navigability.

In addition to improvements to the platform, the new QuakeStudies site features a recently expanded Street Art collection and content from the All Right? public mental health campaign. Other collections from the repository include Gap Filler, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, and the Becker Fraser Earthquake Photographs.

The QuakeStudies update also marks a shift in the digital repository’s life cycle from content collection and acquisition to enabling research and reuse, Dr Thomson says.

“With the new improvements to the site, the UC Arts Digital Lab hopes researchers will find the platform easier to search for, view, and download content that’s of interest to them. Additionally, much of the content housed in QuakeStudies is accompanied by Creative Commons licenses, making it easier for researchers to reuse content in their own work.”

Six years on from the initial launch of QuakeStudies in 2012 the repository is still going strong, and it continues to grow and receive new content. This new upgrade ensures that the ongoing preservation of digital archival materials relating to the earthquakes will continue long into the future, he says.

The project to update the QuakeStudies online platform was undertaken by the UC Arts Digital Lab in collaboration with local open-source technologists Catalyst IT.


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