Sunday 29 July 2007

Great NZ Digi-Poem Competition 2007

Charlie Ward of Wellington has won the inaugural Great New Zealand Digi-Poem Competition with his audio-visual version of Paekakariki poet Apirana Taylor's poem 'Hinemoa's Daughter'.

The announcement was made by NZ Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) Director and Convenor of Judges Michele Leggott at the Montana Poetry Day event, whch was held at Auckland City Libray. I miissed the gig - but like others I can enjoy the results online, here

Great idea this - and hopefully, the same again next year. Meanwhile others might think about putting some of their material into the same kind of framework.

I have in mind some of our heritage collections combining to create a project that encourages fresh interpretation of their material, with the material and the results used as demonstrators to the New Zealand Creative Commons framework. Any takers? NZ Sound Archive, Alexander Turbull, Hocken , ACL Heritage , Auckland Museum?

Silly idea? Comments?

Wednesday 25 July 2007

NZ & Pacific Digital

Feeling very soft and fluffy, courtesy of a week's holiday in the Pacific. Last Monday, after a three hour flight from Auckland, then a four hour ferry ride, we transferred to a small outboard runabout which took us to a low tide stone jetty.

Half an hour latter we are in the beach side bure/chalet and being introduced to the hammock which would be my new home for the next seven days. This is a photo from inside it.

Given the rain, wind and cold currently covering New Zealand, and not forgetting the floods circling some of my UK family, perhaps its best to leave it at that. Nevertheless, it was a fabulous time - and another reminder of the extraordinary generosity of spirit of the pacific island people.

LIAC - Library and Information Advisory Commission
Back in Auckland I went straight into a two day LIAC meeting [great briefings on the North Shore MUSH network - BestGrid - and the plans for Auckland City's planned wifi zone].

On the more sobering side we were treated to a briefing from Sue Cooper of ACL, and Bruce Ralston of Auckland Museum, speaking in their role as members of the Auckland Heritage Librarians and Archivists Group (AHLAG). Their message was stark - some of our
key Pacific and New Zealand documentary heritage is suffering, and in need of some basic care.

NZ & Pacific Digital
Then over to the Fale at the University of Auckland for the launch of their NZ and Pacific Digital Collection on the Library web site.

This is a real labour of love and a digital taonga [treasure] . All concerned deserve a big round of applause, including, but not restricted to Brian Flaherty, Rose Holley, Leonie Hayes, John Laurie.

The collections consist of some new, and some previously published material, but now they are collated into a single page, accessible from the library home page - i.e. here.

There are seven sets of resources - each one of them deserves your time and attention. It would also be good if people could spread the word to friends and colleagues etc both here in New Zealand and overseas.

At the launch Professor Dame Anne Salmond rightly made a strong endorsement around the way digital collections are an expanding boon to scholars, both local and global. Of course she is right - but I in turn am keen to celebrate and acknowledge that these resources are for the benefit and use of everyone interested in New Zealand and Pacific primary materials making its way on the the web. The collections are:


  • Anthropology Photographic Archive
    The database contains a selection of digitised images from the Department of Anthropology Photographic Archive, The University of Auckland. It contains over 5000 social anthropology and archaeology photographs from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Western Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tokelau.

  • Architecture Archive Images
    The Architecture Archive image collection features a selection of drawings, plans, elevations and photographs from the University of Auckland's collection. The archive's holdings range from the nineteenth century to the present with strengths in the Auckland region and the modern movement.

  • Early New Zealand Books
    The ENZB database contains the full text of more than 55 important 19th century books about New Zealand between 1800 and 1860. The text can be searched by keyword and the database includes an index of variant spellings.The individual books are catalogued with direct links in Voyager, the University of Auckland Library catalogue.

  • Journal of the Polynesian Society
    The Polynesian Society is a non-profit organization based at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Founded in 1892, the Society’s aim was the scholarly study of past and present New Zealand Mâori and other Pacific Island peoples and cultures. It has pursued this aim primarily through the Journal of the Polynesian Society, a quarterly publication begun at the Society’s inception and enduring to the present.

  • NZEPC - New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre
    The New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre ( nzepc) is a project based at the University of Auckland to set up an electronic gateway to poetry resources in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Pacific region. It aims to coordinate existing archival and publishing information, and to present some full-text electronic publication of poetry and commentary in consultation with authors and their publishers. nzepc also promotes live poetry events as and when resources permit and is committed to extending and documenting locations for poetry in the digital environment and its real-world counterpart. The site was established in July 2001.

  • ResearchSpace
    ResearchSpace is an open access digital archive or institutional repository promoting the research outputs of the University of Auckland.Our showcase collection in ResearchSpace is the PhD theses from the University of Auckland.

  • Smithyman Online
    Smithyman Online: Collected Poems 1943-1995 by Kendrick Smithyman. Edited & with notes by Margaret Edgcumbe & Peter Simpson.
Brilliant to see this initiative - 'tis to be hoped it comes to the attention of cultural funders, both state and philanthropic - as Janet Copsey the Auckland University Librarian will quickly tell you, these kinds of projects only happen because people are determined to make them happen: this means they search high and low for relative small amounts of money to keep it all up in the air - and that all too often great pilots struggle to grow into sustainable projects.
One view currently doing the rounds is the need for new public / private funding partnerships to ensure that key heritage collections [ aka known as Tier One] are rescued from their current obscurity and are properly catalogued, described, digitised and made available.

It's an interesting idea. And if it sounds like special pleading - why not; seemes to work for TVNZ who managed to score around $80 million of state funding for two new digital channels.
No harm to them - but it has to be said - that kind of money could unearth a ton of wonderful New Zealand and Pacific sources which are sitting buried awaiting a similar Harry Potter moment of joy.

Speaking of which, I'm on page 200 - and if anyone tells me what happens, either by design or by accident [and a few New Zealand journalist reviewers have gone perilously close to the wind] then let it be know I will NEVER forgive them!

As for those who are still moaning that they could have written a better book - get over it - you lost she won! Eat that!

Thursday 12 July 2007

Cabbages and kings

I know - what with the launch of the local New Zealand site for the Creative Commons, the announcement of new and enlarged funding for the Peoples Network project, plus lots of good things happening in the KAREN world, plus what looks like a stunning appointment of a new Director for the Auckland War Memorial Museum, you would think I had lots of things to talk about. Which I do - if there was more time in the day - in the meantime , who can resist this!

Note: on the Creative Commons front, the local New Zealand licence is definitely on the way. For those looking for more background, and a series of papers on what it all means in the Australian context - check this reference from the truly inspirational ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation , Queensland University of Technology. [Can we have one please !] Warning it eventually leads to a 261 page PDF - which just might change how you want to think about copyright.

Also just in - news on the upcoming X MediaLab conference in Melbourne - I will be crawling over glass to get to this - plus thanks to the Melbourne Age for a brilliant story about IBM, Australasia, who have been quietly working away with some Australian aboriginal communities.

Closer to home, if you were looking for some local digital story telling the Taranaki Wiki seems to be finding its feet - this was a beneficiary of the first round of the Community Partnership Fund. I'm told the second round is winding its way through the Wellington labyrinth.

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Christchurch Library goes weekly

This just in - have to give it a spin - these guys are just so worth it:

"We want to let you about Christchurch City Libraries' new weekly
e-edition, offering the best of our new and unique online content by email every week. Each edition has a different theme, reflecting what's happening around us or focusing on the best of our content and collections. If you'd like to receive a copy each week, see the latest issue and sign up at

If you haven't seen our new blog, you might also want to take a look, at . We're covering books, music, movies, art, history and more from a library perspective, posting new items several times a week. We think it's well worth the read.

We're also now offering a range of RSS feeds, including Just Ordered (literally items that have just been ordered by our selectors), New Fiction and Non Fiction, and a feed of our blog. Add us to your feed reader at

And if you're struggling with talk of RSS and feed readers, we can
help with that too, at >