To whoever in their ultimate wisdom decided to change too much on the NAA site,


The current (more or less overnight) upgrade to the NAA site has left me with a few questions:

It was only about 5 months ago when a question was asked re persistent links (  I cannot believe that the NAA did not know that within a short time these links would not work anymore and wasn't honest about the limited lifespan of their answer.

Q1: Why didn’t the NAA retain these persistent links parallel with the current ones?


For some reason the fact sheets seem to have disappeared, most likely replaced by not-as-clear alternatives. The Boer war is one example: Okay,  the fact sheets were not not pretty, but they were concise and the tables gave an easy overview.

Q2: Are the fact sheets still accessible? (Note: even this forum doesn’t know that they have disappeared. On is a dead link to Fact sheet #10)

Q3: Why isn’t Victoria included on the new Boer war info page? It used to be on the fact sheet.     



PS I know there is an international tendency to move towards prettier looking sites, but this does not always mean that things will be better. I suspect that usability testing gets skipped nearly all of the time. 

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Hi Sylvia,

Thank you for providing some feedback on our new website.

Firstly I wanted to note that we'll be adding new content (or updated older content) to the new website progressively - we appreciate that it doesn't have as much content as the old one, so hearing from users about what they want to see added is valuable.

To answer your questions:

1. We did not anticipate that the persistent links would stop working with the new website. Our expectation was that they would continue to work. We're currently working with our website staff to resolve this issue and I'll provide an update here as soon as possible.

2. Fact sheets in their old form are not accessible on the new website. Certain core fact sheets were reviewed and migrated for the launch of the new website. For instance 'Fact Sheet 10 - Access to records under the Archives Act' has become a page under 'using the collection':

As I mentioned above, we'll be reviewing and migrating older content (including fact sheets) over the coming months. We focused on our most popular research topics (defence, immigration, indigenous Australians) for the initial launch.

3. Our apologies about the absence of Victorian content on the Boer War page. This was an oversight but I'll endeavor to get this added as soon as possible.

If you or other users have further feedback about the new website I'd ask that you send it to our feedback email address ( We're using feedback emails to identify what the highest priorities of our users are and guide ongoing content development.


Andrew Cairns

NAA Staff

Thanks for your reply Andrew,

I think that one of my major issues was that things started to happen without being forewarned:

All of a sudden my link did not work anymore, but after a bit of fiddling got me there. A couple of days later the www part worked again. Then other things didn't work as per usual or the I could not get onto the site at all.

Even now, the only hint of a change is close to the bottom of a very long first page with the "tell us what you think " link ...

BTW is it possible to still get copies of the old fact sheets?

rgds, Sylvia

Hi Sylvia,

Yes, we had a few teething problems in the first couple of days but access to the site should be working as expected now.

Staff still have access to the old web content. Are there particular fact sheets you're looking for?


Andrew Cairns

NAA Staff

Just to update my post above, we've now added a Victorian section to the Boer War page (


Thanks for the prompt follow up ... Victoria in the Boer War was just one of those things I'd looked at recently, so it was an glaring omission in my eyes. Do you have an idea when your IT guys will be able to roll out the updates for the persistent links?

BTW thank you very much for your offer re the fact sheets, but I had a light bulb moment today and seem to be able to access them via an archived version .. So there's no need to hassle you for them :-)

I do have one more question re the guides. Is the Boer War guide going to become downloadable one of these days or is it still under copyright? (The HTML version is a bit cumbersome)

rgds, Sylvia

Hi Sylvia,

I don't have an update on the persistent links yet. I'll post here when I have more information.

With regard to the Boer War guide, I don't think that copyright is the issue. We offer HTML versions of our guides rather than PDF versions in order to meet our web content accessibility requirements. In some cases we already had an old PDF version, and we offer that for download alongside the accessible HTML version. I've checked (including going back a few years in our archived website) and can't find a PDF of the Boer War guide. It always appears to have existed in HTML.



The persistent link issue is starting to become a bit more of a pain when I realised that the links from SODA to the "Normal" NAA don't work either although the format is another variation (format= "").

Being a bit familiar with IT implementations, I've got the bad feeling that if this is not fixed up in the coming weeks, we will be left muddling until well into the new year.  Nevertheless, I do think that you need to communicate this in a better way to people who are not aware wof the current changes.


Andrew - I'm also affected by the older Permalinks ceasing to work.The answers I've received from NAA by email & phone about it have offered no hope at all, so you at least offer some hope that it wasn't intentional. (It looks rather embarrassing for an archival institution to have missed the point that Permalinks are supposed to be permanent, but that's been the sense of my communication so far).

I have around 1000 of the old Permalinks which I've been using for over 7 years. In around a quarter of those instances the new solution is completely inadequate & almost useless - I need to be able to deep link to a specific folio within a digital object. The "new" Permalink to metadata about a digital item, then clicking on the digital item to open at Folio 1, then entering the folio number I need to get to is NO substitute for the old solution which took me straight there.

After playing around a bit I found I can still get a deep link to a specific folio by other means ... e.g. using the following format.[BarcodeNumber]&S=[FolioNumber]

Of course, there is no assurance that it is considered a Permalink so it would be nice to have some confirmation from NAA that this will continue to work.

I thought I’d give the NAA some time to get themselves sorted, but it is now 6 to 7 weeks post the hush-hush update of the NAA and there has been only a deafening silence.


The series links from SODA (i.e. format= "") still don’t work and there is STILL NO NOTICE to warn/inform users.

The permalink format that was recommended in May has not been fiex up either (i.e. “”)



I will be sending an email to the feeback option as well, but I prefer to continue addressing these issues in a public forum so that others are also aware of these issues and to prevent these issues from being "forgotten"....




Hi Sylvia and co

Thanks for looking into this on behalf of everyone! It's certainly a frustrating issue. 

I've been able to figure out URLs to agencies, series, and digitised items (frustratingly no solution for items yet) which will hopefully be of some help, although i wouldn't rely on them as a long-term solution at this stage. 

For Agencies:[AgencyID]

where [AgencyID] is (not surprisingly) the Agency ID, e.g.:

For Series:[SeriesID]

where [SeriesID] is the Series number, e.g.:

For Digitised Items:[ImageBarcode]

where [ImageBarcode] is the image barcode, e.g.:

Hopefully this is of use to someone and we hear about a permanent solution soon.

I'd definitely be keen to hear if anyone works out the item URL!

Cheers, Constance

Good morning all,

Firstly, please accept our sincere apologies for the frustration that this issue has created. We did not anticipate that the switch to the new website would create this problem. If we had, we wouldn’t have been suggesting the links to users or promoting them as ‘permalinks’.

  1. The old style of ‘permalinks’ (using either the “ or “” formats) do not work on the updated website, and unfortunately we are not able to ‘fix’ these links. If you have used the old style of links then you would need to update them to the new style (see below).
  2. There are ‘new’ links you can use. These should give you a stable link to an item, series description etc in RecordSearch. However, we cannot guarantee that these will continue to work indefinitely. They may be invalidated by future updates to RecordSearch or our website. This is likely a few years away but we wanted to be clear given the problems with the old ‘permalinks’.
  3. Several users in this thread have already suggested links to series, items, agency descriptions etc. I have collected all of these below for future reference:




Page 1 of an online copy:[item barcode]



Series:[series number]



Agency:[agency number]



Commonwealth Person:[person number]



Organisation:[organisation number]




Please let me know if you have any questions.


Andrew Cairns



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