The National Archives of Australia developed and maintain Vroom – Virtual Reading Room (http://vrroom.naa.gov.au/). Vrroom is like many systems in that it provides access to archival collection records and digitized materials. To those, Vrroom has added educational and contextual materials for a number of the items. Also, items are presented together in groups with more educational context for the group of items; thus, people can learn more about specific things/people/etc as well as the larger context for those items in relation to other items all in context together.
From this description, Vrroom may seem like many educational websites. It is, but it is also an excellent example of policy needs can dictate technology (and the opposite should never be true; technology should not dictate policy) to provide needed supports that enable access. As a website, Vrroom enables access in expected ways. As a cultural heritage website, Vrroom enables access by supporting cultural heritage protections specifically by blurring thumbnail images of people and providing a warning before showing the full image and text. The warning states: “Warning. Indigenous Australians are advised that this document includes images or names of people now deceased.” (example). Technologically, this is simple. While simple, it’s also very important because enabling access means more than simply putting materials online.
Enabling access means ensuring materials can be found (outreach, promotion, search engine optimization, etc) and that the materials are usable (usability studies, help documents, etc), as well as ensuring that the materials can be made sense of and used (contextual supports, educational guides, exhibits, cultural heritage supports, etc). Vrroom is an excellent resource for archival research and teaching, as well as being an excellent example of how cultural heritage institutions support access and what supporting access really means.