The website A Vision of Britain through Time has been relaunched courtesy of funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee, the IT arm of the Higher Education Funding Councils under their Digitise Programme.
New features include:
- The “main” web site home page and the “places” homepage have been separated out, so News and links to sections appear on the “main” home page whilst the “places” homepage is dedicated to place searching.
- A new “Learning Resources” section has been added which contains various guides on how to use the website. The “Expert search” option has moved to the bottom bar.
- A new Map Library featuring two new interfaces. The continuous map layer visible on the Historic Maps homepage is much quicker at returning maps and easier to manoeuvre than before. The map series available are listed by type to make it easy to distinguish between them. Open Street Map now provides the modern data. The second viewing interface shows the whole of individual map sheets including all the information in the margins.
- Innovative map presentation; selecting a map series to investigate displays a list of all maps which contain at least part of the area currently selected in the viewer on the map homepage, listed in order of relevance, i.e. those with the biggest area covered in common with the currently selected area will be returned first in the list and so on. This is thought to be the first on-line relevance-ranked map catalogue search mechanism.
- The addition of over 1000 new scanned images of early Boundary Commission Report Maps and Administrative area maps.
- The addition of a full listing of British Parliamentary Constituencies since 1832 and all their changing boundaries.
- The addition of a full listing of Parliamentary Constituencies in Northern Ireland since partition in 1922.
- The addition of all General and By-election data by party for all constituencies within Great Britain between 1832 and 2008 and Northern Ireland between 1922 and 2008. Combined with the new constituency units with boundaries this means that the pattern of winning parties using contemporary boundaries can be mapped for each General Election in Great Britain for the past 175 years.
- The gazetteer data structure has been expanded so the top level unit is now “The World” rather than the original root unit “The British Isles”, although there is very little data above the old root yet. The consistency of the existing data is being improved and the missing texts from the Introductions to the Census General Reports are being added in.