Burlington Public Library: Raising awareness of local history collections

The City of Burlington is committed to preserving its history and cultural heritage for future generations. As part of this mission, Burlington Public Library makes it a priority to digitise materials that document the history of the city, and illustrate the ever changing environments of Burlington, its people, culture, history, and development.

Raising awareness of local history collections

Burlington Public Library’s (BPL) digital local history content was hosted in various locations. The public and staff struggled to find content on a continual basis and at the end of the day were not fully aware of all of the library’s local history material.

BPL is committed to making its local history collection accessible to the public so the library needed a solution to bring awareness to its local history collection, in one platform that could manage and display all forms of content.

A fully featured and easy-to-use digital collections platform

BPL needed access to a digital platform that was capable of bulk ingesting assets migrated from various legacy sites, containing an array of metadata and one that did not require heavy involvement from its IT department.

When researching a vast array of digital solutions, Quartex was the only vendor who truly offered an all-inclusive demo experience. Furthermore, Quartex is designed to allow users to do in-house migration and ingestion of assets. No IT department is needed, and no technical expertise is required.

Marisa Purdy, Local History and Digital Archive Coordinator, Burlington Public Library

Quartex provided BPL with a sandbox. This gave the team hands on experience and access to ingest some of its own digital assets, which, in turn, provided the opportunity to fully understand the platform. 

Purdy says, “As we experimented with the sandbox, we came to learn that the platform is extremely intuitive and user friendly for both users and staff, as well as being visually appealing and customisable.”

Partnership working to keep things simple

“We were treated like partners from the beginning. Here at BPL we have a saying, “Keep it Simple, Make it Special”, and right from the very beginning, Quartex exuded this energy. The whole team provided valuable support and time while we experimented with our sandbox, which transitioned smoothly into the beginnings of our Quartex site,” says Purdy.

The team also made use of Quartex’s community platform, with its knowledge base and extensive listing of digital resources.

From an administrator perspective, having the ability to achieve in-house migration and bulk ingestion without IT intervention was key to BPL’s success.

“We were able to design and build our Quartex site in addition to migrating and ingesting all of our data. If you take the time to organise your metadata into CSV files that correspond with digital assets, uploading in Quartex can be quick and easy to achieve. As Jason Scott said “metadata becomes a love note to the future”, which I wholeheartedly agree with!” says Purdy.

With the help of Quartex’s support team, BPL was able to design a website to be proud of.

Being able to jump right into the design process almost immediately and mimic the look of our Library website, so it feels more like an extension than a new site, was a real bonus.

Cody Vanderslot, Manager of Digital Resources and Collections, Burlington Public Library

BPL also wanted to be able to keep its three repositories separate and allow users to clearly see and be able to access all of them. The team achieved this by using the content pages as an introductory space and Quartex’s list page type to showcase collections.

BPL collections list page.

Shining new light on Burlington’s 150 year history

BPL launched in August 2023 with approximately 6,000 assets migrated from its previous platform, as well as a new collection of historical maps which was featured on the home page in anticipation of the launch and in celebration of Burlington’s 150th anniversary.

“The response from the community has been really positive. Around 80 interested community members attended our launch event, and we have had over 1,500 users visit the site in just over a week since the site has been live,” says Vanderslot.

BPL has also received a significant amount of local media interest, helping to further spread the word about the Burlington Digital Archive.

BPL Historical maps collection.

New projects and partnerships in the pipeline

BPL’s goal was to provide digital access to its collections, aiming to further build the archive’s scope by broadening awareness via its digital platform.

Following the launch, the team’s focus will move to adding new digital collections as they are accessioned and digitised, expanding collections where new content is digitised, or starting new collections when they are donated to the library.

The site has met all of our current objectives and we now have our eyes on the future and which collections we can share with our community next. We also have a few new partnerships in the pipeline and are very excited to share these with everyone. We are open to and welcome partnerships with other members of our community who have interesting Burlington history pieces or stories to share.

Cody Vanderslot, Manager of Digital Resources and Collections, Burlington Public Library

“By building our digital archive, we hope that the Burlington Community will look to BPL as the central repository for Burlington’s Documentary Heritage,” concludes Purdy.

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