APO News


2016 Year in Review: ARC and ANDS projects

2016 has been an exciting year for APO with two major projects in progress as well as our ever expanding range of collections and services. There is so much to tell I will break up my report into a few posts - this one is on our ARC and ANDS projects. 


Linked Data PolicyHub Project


This project is supported by the Australian Research Council LIEF grant in partnership with researchers at Swinburne University, the University of Canberra, RMIT University, the University of Sydney, and partner organisations ANZSOG, AURIN, and the Internet Archive. It has seen a range of collections and tools developed to support policy research across Urban and Regional Infrastructure and Communications and related issues.


Policy Hub Collections


We have established a number of new policy hubs and expanded some existing ones. The Urban Policy and Planning policy hub has expanded and a new Regional Development policy hub has been established, both being overseen by Anna Hyland our new curator based at the RMIT University. The Communications and Media polcy hub has expanded under the management of Megan Deas at the University of Canberra and we have created a full text collection of the Communication and Research Forum conference papers for the last decade. A Public Administration PolicyHub has been launched and a Digital Inclusion policy hub now brings together a range of key resources on this issue. 


Amanda testing out the Table Top Scribe at the Internet Archive, San Francisco

Internet Archive Table Top Scribe - Digitisation Project


Digitisation of key policy documents and resources is an important area for many researchers wanting to provide long term analysis of policy trends and issues. We are therefore very excited to report that our Table Top Scribe from the Internet Archive has arrived in two enormous road cases. Tim McCarthy who joined the APO team this year as Assistant Editor is charged with figuring out how to set it up and we will then be starting to digitise capital city strategic planning documents as our first collection. If you are interested in working with us on digitising key policy resources get in touch.


Linked data models and Database Upgrade


Now for the techy part. As part of the LIEF project we have also been developing a new model for the APO database and planning an upgrade to our software from Drupal 7 to 8. Camilo Jorquera, APO's developer, and Leanne Whitby our new information manager, have been working hard all year on this 'under the hood' work (or plumbing as we often think of it) to develop a new schema and data model that will help us to better integrate with Google and Google Scholar, other databases and taxonomies, and do more with our database to visualise and analyse the resources we have. We have been assisted by Conal Tuohy advising on ways to create a linked data framework that is able to show the relationships between entities in the database. We hope this will set us up for much more advanced tools in future developments. 

Once we have the new system up and running we will be able to display our content and metadata in more diverse and interesting ways such as via maps, timelines and network diagrams. 


APO Visual Design 


We have been working with Melbourne-based Webplace over the last few months to develop a new visual look and revise our information architecture so that the site is a bit easier to use and is better able to show case the range of content, tools and services we have to offer. The new design and database structure will be launched early next year. Thanks to  the many people who have assisted with the survey and consultation process and we look forward to getting more feedback before and after the launch of the upgrade. 


ANDS High Value Collections Project


It has been great working with the Australian National Data Service this year on a High Value Collections project to develop the capacity to catalogue and host data sets on APO. Thanks to Richard Ferrers and Angeletta Leggio for all their help and advice. Monica Omodei has also been a great help in analysing the options for hosting data. It has been interesting to discover how rare it is for documents and data to be hosted together. Connecting the two directly continues to be a key aim for our future develoment. 


Both of these projects have some way to go before we have completed all the work to be done but it has been a terrific opportunity to progress some really tricky database design issues and develop new collections and services. More updates in the new year.

Thanks to all our funders and partner organisations and to our readers, authors, advisors, networks, consultants and staff. If you would like to know more please get in touch.

Amanda Lawrence