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!


Anonymous said...

Have you noticed that Auckland University claim copyright and all sorts of conditions of use of the old documents?

Not very nice of them and I hope anything the government does fund has a more open policy.

Anonymous said...

Good question maybe Auckland university may answer it

Anonymous said...

i read the last page of Harry Potter must die and it is great that there will be no more billy bunter in the world of magic

Anonymous said...

hello bro..I think your picture is 'A' numero Uno..wish to hell I still had all my hair

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