Adding a download for a document creates number of information management risks including:
- Information is harder to find as the “browse” approach is reduced to “tripping over” the document.
- Changes to the version of a document create a new address, so all links need to be found (how?) and then updated.
- Special measures may be needed to view, rather than download the document.
- Documents aren’t grouped in any way making file management time-consuming.
PotatoesNZ maintains a collection of nearly 1,000 documents, in pdf format, which are regularly used by growers, researchers and consumers. To manage and serve these documents, a library approach was employed to enable both “search” and “browse” approaches to locating information.
The library is constructed to model a real-world environment, with a display of the top 20 most-downloaded documents and a table of the most requested titles. Within the library, departments have been created using a hierarchy structure agreed with the PNZ team, and documents are placed within these departments (or folders). In this way, we are able to group related documents, making it easier for visitors to browse related subjects.
The departments of the library are all accessible from the front-end menu, so visitors can quickly jump to the required folder. In addition, links to specific documents (and indeed, entire departments) are used throughout the rest of the website in announcements, news articles and in regular content. So access to the library is truly integrated throughout the website.
The library provides some useful document management capabilities too. In an area as active as the Potato industry, documents regularly undergo revision and new versions become available. The PotatoesNZ library enables new versions of documents to be added without changing the address of the document – thus all links throughout the website remain the same.
There are occasions when a collection of documents are released together. The library enables batch-upload of document collections, saving time and reducing the opportunity for error.
In the PNZ library, we have included social media buttons for each document to encourage further sharing and discussion, away from the website.
The library is integrated with WordPress Search so the same search window is used throughout the site and the document library is included in all searches.
Many aspects of the library’s appearance can be customised and the current display has been developed in conjunction with PotatoesNZ to give a bespoke interface that mirrors the PotatoesNZ brand.