For the most part, we’re able to upgrade and update Open Context without major disruption. Today, however, is an exception. We’ve made some significant updates to the data structure behind the site so that Open Context can better support additional query features, especially using standard units of measure. We’re also upgrading Apache-Solr (the software that powers Open Context’s faceted search and other query services). The new query services will support searches according to geospatial facets. This will make Open Context able to support better interfaces for querying geospatial data, especially data from archaeological surveys.
If all goes well (fingers crossed!), we’ll be back online by next Monday. Unfortunately, many of the new capabilities won’t be immediately apparent. However, they will make it easier for us to implement some great user interface ideas recommended by Phoebe France, an expert interactions designer. In the next few months, Open Context overall design and user experience should improve greatly, in part because of these upgrades to the back end systems.