In his outline in the Summer 2018 Newsletter for the future direction of the Hampshire Archives Trust, David Livermore, the Trust’s chairman, identified the need for an effective website.
The new website would improve communication with members, and further the Trust’s objectives. These objectives include facilitating the saving of historic material at risk, preserving and cataloguing of existing archives, and helping easier and wider access of archives to the general public.
It was realised that the new website would be a major undertaking. There is currently a minimal HAT web presence – a small subsection on the Hampshire Record Office website (https://www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/archives) which is a legacy of the Trust prior to its separation from the umbrella of Hampshire County Council. However, since December 2016 much valuable work has been carried out by a small team of Trustees reviewing the objectives of the Trust, and identifying the way forward in terms of membership, procedures for grants, the roles of the Trustees, Patrons and Vice Presidents and an overall business plan.
These provided firm foundations for the content of the new site. So over the past six months the extent of the content has been defined in conjunction with the board of trustees, and after much consultation an easily navigable menu structure developed. The structure and content were presented to the 2018 HAT AGM in November, and valuable feedback, and offers of help in user testing, received.
The aim was to create a pilot site with some content to allow for testing. The main sections of the site are divided into an introductory home page (with stimulating and engaging content to attract the casual web user), an introduction to archives, sections covering events and meetings, membership, grants and the HAT organisation.
Major developments for the site include the ability for members to join and manage their subscriptions, and for members to book events. The Introduction to Archives section includes a series of case studies from Hampshire featuring stories about archives. It is hoped that these case studies, several of which will feature cases of grants from HAT, has done stimulate more applications for grants.
A website developer was commissioned to develop this website, and using content developed by the Trustees – with a major contribution by Trustees Cheryl Butler and Barry shurlock – was used tested January 2019. Following this initial user testing modifications were incorporated and further content developed. The fully functional website was launched in May 2019.
Further content will be developed in conjunction with local record Offices, Winchester College, the National Motor Museum etc, who are already contributors to the Newsletters under the able editorship of volunteer David Rymill. We would very much welcome any stories from members of the Trust about the saving, conservation and use of archives. Please do contact the HAT website project coordinator David Spurling at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Hampshire Record offices.