A New Look for UC QuakeStudies

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The UC Arts Digital Lab is excited to announce the launch of a new and improved UC QuakeStudies earthquake research repository.

QuakeStudies, the University of Canterbury’s major contribution to the CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive, contains photographs, documents, videos, audio recordings, media articles, and other material relating to the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes. Each item in the repository 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 project to update the QuakeStudies online platform was undertaken by the UC Arts Digital Lab in collaboration with local open source technologists Catalyst IT. The new QuakeStudies platform, built on the Islandora digital repository system, boasts enhanced searchability, improved document viewing tools, and a cleaner, more user-friendly layout offering greater navigability.

UC Arts Digital Lab Director, Professor Paul Millar, launches the new-look QuakeStudies

A launch event was held in the UC Arts City Location in the Arts Centre’s old Chemistry building last week, and was attended by representatives of the CEISMIC consortium from Christchurch City Council, Canterbury Museum and Christchurch City Libraries, contributors to the archive, and UC researchers keen to hear how the new QuakeStudies can assist them in their research.

The Arts Digital Lab hopes researchers will find the new platform easier to search for, view, and download content that is of interest to them. Additionally, much of the content housed in QuakeStudies has been released under Creative Commons licenses, making it easier for researchers to reuse content in their own work.

PhD student Sionainn Byrnes talks about how she is using QuakeStudies material in her research

Researchers interested in exploring the breadth of content in QuakeStudies are encouraged to discuss their needs with Arts Digital Lab staff.  With around 150,000 items in the repository, of which 12,000 are available only to approved researchers, the Lab team can help guide you to the content that will be most useful for your research.

Six years on from the initial launch of UC 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.

Photographs by Samuel Hope (Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ)

The Canterbury Roll Symposium

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As well as the discussions and presentations, the symposium gave us an opportunity to examine the Roll in person.

Last Friday, staff and students involved in the Canterbury Roll project, along with a team from Nottingham Trent University here to do a scientific analysis on the Roll, met for a symposium to discuss progress so far and our next steps.

Natasha Hodgson of Nottingham Trent University talks about some of the Roll’s features.


Chris Thomson discusses the significance of the Digital Edition, and the work the Arts Digital Lab has been doing.

We had some great presentations from the various people involved in the project: everything from the project’s lead transcriber, Maree Shirota, talking about how the Roll fits into the larger picture of medieval genealogies, to Haida Laing of Nottingham Trent talking about how her team use the latest imaging technologies to discover the secrets of ancient documents and artworks.  Even our Arts Digital Lab interns, Josh Kim and Jayson Boon, gave a presentation, talking about the work they’re doing marking up in TEI the connections between historical figures on the Roll.

An important part of the symposium was a round-table discussion of the next stages for the project – watch this space!


Jayson Boon and Josh Kim answer questions about their markup work