Thursday, 6 March 2014

Have You Seen Our New Website?

If you have looked at our website over the last week you may have noticed some changes! After a year of working away at it behind the scenes we are finally able to share it with you and hope you will see some changes for the better.

The redesign of our website was triggered by a few things.
  • A growing body of feedback from our users suggesting that the website could be improved
  • A desire to introduce new content to the website in order to fill in some gaps and provide more up to date information about our work
  • A need to make information about the breadth and variety of our holdings more readily available

Have we got it right?


For the next few days you will see a ‘Help us improve’ button on the right hand side of our home page. If you click on this button you will be able to leave feedback for us. Feedback can either be generic (relating to the whole website) or specific (you can click on a particular element of our home page and rate or comment on it).


Here are some of the areas we have been focusing on:

New look and feel

Our vision for the overall look and feel of the new website was clear. We wanted the site to be eye-catching and visually appealing. We have made good use of images of our archives, our premises and our staff at work to illustrate the website and achieve this goal.

The colour scheme for the new website has changed to a striking orange and grey in line with our new branding. We still retain the Borthwick logo at the foot of each page (and if you are interested in the history of our pig logo we have a new web page that tells that particular story). We want to put across a strong and consistent visual identity to all of our users that ties in with the posters, signs and leaflets you will see if you visit us.

New structure

We understand the frustration of not being able to find the information you need online. When planning the new website structure we tried to focus on the user experience. We have rationalised the structure to ensure our content hangs together in logical sections making information easy to locate. Naming the main navigational sections in a user-friendly way was key. We were keen to ensure that our users knew which section to click on in order to get to a particular piece of information. We do hope we have got this right and would welcome your feedback if you think we haven’t.

New Content

New content has been developed enabling the website to expand into new areas.

Donating or depositing material

We have created a set of pages was aimed at those who were considering donating or depositing an archive with the Borthwick. This new area of the website includes a useful overview of the deposit process as well as an FAQ section. Further pages and information sheets about preparing digital material for deposit are also included.

Looking after the archives

We are proud of the conservation work we carry out here at the Borthwick but had not previously highlighted this on our website. The website redesign has given us an opportunity to talk to our users about what goes on behind the scenes at the Borthwick, including our ongoing work to establish a digital archive.

The History of the Borthwick

In our 60th year the website redesign gives us a great opportunity to publish our story. These new pages describe our origins, our links to the University, key people and events in our history and answers to questions that we are sometimes asked (such as how we got our name and why we have a pig as a logo).

Future work

One of the key drivers behind the website redesign was our desire to make information about our holdings more visible and easily accessible. We have begun this process by adding an introduction to some of the themes of our archives within the ‘Our Holdings’ section (illustrated below). This preparatory work gives us stronger foundations to build upon. A future project will lead to an increased number of our finding aids becoming available in a structured and searchable format online.

Do take this opportunity to tell us what you think - we are looking forward to hearing from you!

Jenny Mitcham, Digital Archivist at the Borthwick Institute
Read Jenny's blog on digital archiving here

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