Discovery, our new online catalogue

20 January

Our new online catalogue, Discovery, will be launched at the end of this month. Discovery will make it easier to search and use our collection for everyone, from first-time users to experienced researchers.

What will be happening and when

Discovery will replace our current Catalogue completely by 31 March, when all its features will be available. A digital document delivery service feature in Discovery will also launch at this time to replace DocumentsOnline, making it easier for users to search for records and order digitised copies, if available, all in one place.

From the end of January, Discovery will become the primary tool for searching our collections online, allowing users more time to familiarise themselves with Discovery before the Catalogue and DocumentsOnline are switched off. Some features of Discovery will still be in development at this stage, but will be fully available for the switchover in March.

Why has Discovery been developed?

Our current Catalogue, one of the first of its kind, provides a free online search facility for the collection, but has its limitations. A certain level of knowledge - whether of the subject matter or record series itself - is currently required to successfully search the Catalogue. This can make it difficult for new users to find what they are looking for without assistance. Discovery aims to address these issues and improve the overall user experience.

Discovery has been developed in full collaboration with our users, and has involved a significant amount of user testing throughout its development. The system has enhanced features previously unavailable in the Catalogue, such as a tool for users to tag our records and the ability to download digitised records straight from the catalogue. We plan to continue to develop new features and functionality for Discovery in the future, in order to better integrate our online services and collections. A beta version of Discovery has been available on our website for over nine months.