Many of our clients get funding for the projects from the National Heritage Lottery Fund. Up until 2018, the NHLF had particular requirements for digital projects, which were a good summary of best practice in the sector. That guidance has now been withdrawn, because the NHLF felt it was too prescriptive. However, we think the core principles still apply, and these are summarised below.
‘Projects should use open technologies where possible’
CommunitySites supply websites and catalogues built with open-source software which has been customised to provide the same functionality and ease of use as our own long-established proprietary software. We use WordPress open-source software for websites and Omeka open-source cataloguing software.
‘Digital outputs must be ‘usable’ and available’ for five years from project completion’
CommunitySites provide an on-going web hosting and maintenance service. The price of your site can include a 5-year hosting and maintenance contract which is paid for up-front.
‘Websites must meet accessibility standards’
CommunitySites websites and catalogues meet the WCAG 2 accessibility standard (single A rating) and higher AA or AAA ratings can be achieved if required. However, note that the highest accessibility ratings require editorial disciplines as well as technical disciplines and may not be appropriate or realistic for all sites.
‘Project should contribute digital outputs to appropriate heritage collections’
CommunitySites software provides export facilities so that the content of websites or catalogues can be migrated into archive and museum catalogues. Several of our websites have been successfully archived by the British Library.
‘Digital content must be licensed for use by others under the Creative Commons licence ‘Attribution Non-commercial’ (CC BY-NC)’
‘Projects should develop skills and encourage community engagement’
CommunitySites will help you meet funding outcomes in terms of developing skills and encouraging community engagement.
This is because of our expertise and experience in training non-technical users (often volunteers) and encouraging public contribution to websites. Our testimonials demonstrate how ordinary people can be drawn into the process of creating online heritage – even if they are worried about computers beforehand!