University Canterbury: QuakeStudies

University of Canterbury preserves vital earthquake data and insight on digital archive, built with Islandora.


The UC QuakeStudies component of the CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive is led by the University of Canterbury. UC QuakeStudies collects content sourced from the research community, community groups, peak agencies and other organisations involved with or affected by the earthquakes.


University Canterbury needed a digital library that could handle a large amount of content, combine multiple types of media from various organisations, while allowing the staff to curate material and the public to easily explore collections.


A new home was needed for the Government’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Learning and Legacy Programme, which collected over 200 online items from multiple collections.

Items were transferred to UC QuakeStudies, which has now been migrated to Islandora - an open source digital asset management system able to home large amounts of content in various forms.

This solution allows for the lessons learned from the Canterbury earthquakes to be shared and preserved for the future. The focus is on community participation and commemoration, but the site also provides an essential resource for local and international researchers and students.

UC Quake Studies, the single biggest node within the CEISMIC network, says “We're committed to making content freely and openly accessible to anyone interested in understanding the effects of the Canterbury earthquakes.”

The archive is easy to use and navigate and is shaped by its contributors. People are free to view an array of story-telling materials in the form of photography, video, audio and written works.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Learning collection includes documents from a wide range of Government and non-government organisations such as The Ministry for Women, the Red Cross, the Earthquake Commission, and the Human Rights Commission, as well as academic reports on how to respond to an emergency. There are also copies of key Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) documents. This adds to the more than 150,000 items already stored in UC QuakeStudies.

Thanks to the nature of Catalyst’s open source solutions this digital archive can continue to grow and evolve and Catalyst looks forward to continuing to collaborate and support the University of Canterbury.