Posts Tagged ‘National Library of New Zealand’

The good people at the National Library are conducting another Web Harvest. It is good to see that they learnt from the last one, and this time have a comprehensive policy for dealing with robots.txt rules. If you have a site that doesn’t fall under the .nz pre-selection criteria don’t forget to nominate it.

New Zealand web harvest 2010: The National Library is conducting a whole of domain web harvest between 12 and 25 May.

Why does the National Library collect websites?

The National Library exists to preserve New Zealand’s social and cultural history, whether in the form of books, newspapers and photographs, or of websites, blogs and videos.

The New Zealand Web Harvest 2010 harvest recognises the importance of the internet in all areas of New Zealand society and culture by taking a ‘snapshot’ of the New Zealand internet in May 2010.

Information for website owners

The harvest will run for approximately 14 days, from 12 to 25 May 2010.

The harvest will only collect publicly viewable web content. If your website, or parts of it, is password protected, this content will not be harvested.

We will harvest every domain in the .nz country code, and some others from .com, .net and .org. If you have a website outside .nz, you can ensure it is harvested and added to the Library’s collections by completing our Nomination form.

To submit a site map for harvesting, complete our Nomination form.

The web harvester will generally honour the robots.txt convention, with some exceptions. For example, if an image file is embedded in a web page, we will take a copy of that image file in order to have a complete copy of the web page.

If you set a robots.txt rule specifically for our harvester, NLNZHarvester2010, it will follow that rule strictly. However, we will always take a copy of a website’s homepage, regardless of the robots.txt rule.

If you have comments or questions, please complete our Feedback form.

About the whole of domain web harvest

The National Library has commissioned the Internet Archive (an American-based not-for-profit) to perform the harvest on our behalf.

  • We will attempt to acquire:
  • Websites that fall under the .nz country code
  • Websites that fall under .com. .net and .org that can be programmatically determined to be hosted on machines that are physically located in New Zealand
  • Selected websites based overseas that are covered by the provisions of the National Library of New Zealand Act (2003).

We estimate we will capture 130-140 million URLs, resulting in 7-8 terabytes of uncompressed data.

Keeping you informed

Notice of the harvest was first published on Thursday 8 April March 2010, giving a five-week notification period.

The Library will keep website owners and other affected parties up to date throughout the harvest via this web page.

Regular progress updates will be posted on our LibraryTechNZ blog, and various mailing lists and forums will also be used to communicate with website owners.



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Yesterday the government made it’s announcement of the various proposed restructurings that were rumoured last week, including the merging of National Library and Archives into the Department of Internal Affairs.

Like most Government documents the “Cabinet Paper” detailing the rational and the proposed actions is a longish, dry paper, full of management and political speak. Most people would put it down within thirty seconds of picking it up. I wonder if they do that on purpose?

Anyway the bits that concern us are from page 9.  As I have said previously I have no philosophical objections to such a merger, being of the mind that for a small country do we really need so many departments replicating work. While I know centralisation doesn’t necessary mean efficiencies, there is a good argument to be made for attempting go gain efficiencies through centralisation and pooling of resources. My biggest concern was in the dilution of the scope and purpose of the Chief Librarian and Archivist, and the place of the Turnbull within the resulting amalgamation.

So the following part was of small comfort:

“Risks have been considered and can be mitigated. We are conscious that stakeholders are likely to express concerns that specialist services and skills in the separate departments would be lost. While Archives New Zealand and the National Library are currently well regarded and successful institutions, the prospective role of an enlarged DIA is not as well understood. Officials consider that good change management and communications can mitigate these risks. Stakeholder concerns could include a view that the Chief Archivist’s independence or archival practice would be undermined, or that the separate status of the Alexander Turnbull Library would be threatened. This risk can be mitigated by retaining, with only necessary minor amendments, the legislative provisions which currently set out the role and powers of Chief Archivist and National Librarian, together with associated bodies such as the Archives Council. However, it is unlikely that mitigation of risk in these ways will allay a level of publicly expressed concern.”

They are right. It won’t allay publicly expressed concern, especially with such a lack of detail. My biggest fear is by the time we get the detail we need, what we find out will be all wrong and it will be too late.

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It was announced, or was it rumoured but not denied, earlier on in the week that the National Library and Archives New Zealand were possibly to be taken into the Department of Internal Affairs, and not have there own stand alone agencies. I have been waiting for more details to come out on this, but alas I have seen nothing. While on one hand I can see the economic sense in bringing them in house to one administrative department, I also can see philosophical and technical difficulties that would need to be overcome.

I was glad then to see LIANZA putting out the following press release.  I too am concerned over lack of consultation, or any sort of documentation. Are we chasing at windmills or is this a serious proposal?   

LIANZA concerned over lack of information and consultation over proposed merger affecting the National Library

The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), is concerned there has been no detailed information released to date about the Government proposal to merge the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand within the Department of Internal Affairs.

Libraries adhere to the general principle of Freedom of Information whereas the Department of Internal Affairs has a censorship role which could potentially result in a conflict.

The National Library enriches the cultural and economic life of New Zealanders by supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries across the country. The National Library allows New Zealanders to be connected with information through the protection of New Zealand’s documentary heritage, ensuring that access to information is facilitated and that New Zealanders are skilful and confident in using information.

LIANZA fears that a merger could compromise the vision and core services of the National Library and this could ultimately decrease literacy skills in New Zealand.

The National Library provides national frameworks, knowledge systems and professional guidance to all New Zealand libraries and is a key partner in ensuring effective collaboration with others in the cultural and education sectors. It also enjoys an international reputation as an innovative leader in regard to preservation and access to culture and heritage.

LIANZA and the National Library have a very long working relationship; the Association played a strong advocacy role by lobbying government between 1911 and 1945 which resulted in the establishment of the National Library.

LIANZA would expect that any structural changes made would enhance rather than detract from the many services provided by the National Library and enjoyed by New Zealanders today.

As a key stakeholder LIANZA has a lot to contribute and would appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the wider consultation process.

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It’s New Years Day, the sun is shining, everyone’s on holiday, and nobodies hanging around here or reading library related stuff. Except for those poor people who are working over the break.

For those who need something of a library fix you could reading the following:

National Library Customer Survey Results

The National Library of New Zealand, which includes the Alexander Turnbull Library, recently engaged research company Colmar Brunton to perform a valuable piece of customer research.

This research, performed in two phases, will provide a foundation of customer focused knowledge to help continue with the transformation of the National Library. This transformation began in 2007 with the development of the New Generation Strategy, which will ensure the Library better meet the needs of the modern digital age and 21st century learners

The first phase is now complete and provides a clear understanding of the National Library’s current and potential customers and begins to identify their broad service needs. It involved 876 existing customers in quantitative surveys and 16 existing customers in in-depth interviews. 2,083 New Zealanders also participated in a survey of the general population conducted in order to reach people not currently using National Library services.

The research will help the library better understand the customer perspective with insights into their motivations and expectations. It helps to identify how the library’s services could better assist customers and contributes to a body of knowledge that will be used in further developing services.

The second phase, intended for early next year, will further test new and enhanced services to determine if they meet customer expectations and needs.

Phase one – summary of key findings

  • The majority of customers are utilising the National Library’s collections and services both online and onsite at a National Library location. It is clear that the majority of customers prefer to access the National Library collections and services online. This supports the National Library’s efforts to digitise significant numbers of collection items for everyone to discover, use and interact with.
  • The research identified a potential new group of customers for the National Library. These are people from the general public who have a broad interest in New Zealand history and information personally relevant to them. Their service needs differ from current customers as they require a more structured way of understanding the services and collections and searching, but have a very narrow area of interest. They also prefer to visit in person.
  • Understanding customers’ purposes and motivations for using the National Library is important to help the Library better meet the needs and expectations of these people. Through the research, we learned that there were four dimensions that characterised customers’ motivations: the desire to discover to share; to discover to learn; to learn to create; and to create to share. All customers identified with one of these dimensions and each dimension required a different approach to customer services.
  • The Library should enhance its response to the oral and social learning models of Māori in the development of services.
  • The majority of New Zealanders have heard of the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library. Among the general population, 82% had heard of the National Library and 70% had heard of the Alexander Turnbull Library.
  • Customers are utilising the National Library for a diverse range of reasons. There is opportunity to promote a wider range of services and collections to customers so that they can make greater use of the Library.
  • Customers would prefer the National Library to appear more open, accessible, and more innovative than it is now.

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Digital institutional repositories are close to my heart and open access repositories more so. Good old Wikipedia tells us that a repository is “an online locus for collecting, preserving, and disseminating — in digital form — the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_repository)

Many people use the Web these days to search for information, at least that’s what the research says (for example, see the  World Internet Project Report ) so it is important that the information is online. Having a digital institutional repository is a highly effective way of getting your research ‘out there’ particularly if is spidered by either Google or Google Scholar.

Recently there has been an initiative in New Zealand to provide an open access repository hosting service for Crown Research Institutes, and other content providers such as government departments who may not have the resources to do so themselves. It is called the Shared Research Repository Project and the initiative is funded by the Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MoRST) and developed by Digital NZ, with the National Library of NZ being the pilot participant.

Why do we care? Because publicly funded research often faces barriers in disseminating the results of its research.

An online repository will allow these institutions to sustainably manage, store and disseminate the research findings it accumulates. It allows the full text of that research to be easily discoverable and freely accessible to the public. It is yet to go live, but watch out for it when it does. I’m sure we will all want to link to it from our professional web pages.

This is a great initiative! Well done to MoRST, DigitalNZ and the National Library.

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There are reasons our lives take the paths they do. Access to information is something I’ve understood and felt passion about on some level from a relatively young age. I recall visiting my local library aged about 15. They were considering adding lending charges to their collections, and had a blackboard and chalk out in their library as a form of consultation.

One opinion stuck out – someone had written “what price knowledge?” A fair point, but one I had to disagree with. I can’t tell you what I wrote (nothing very pithy I’m sure) but I wished, at least, to convey that for those who had nothing knowledge with a price was knowledge made unavailable. Thus was a public librarian born, far more than in my appetite for the written word.

Thus it was that I was heartened to hear of the Aotearoa People’s Network. It launched just over a year ago, and I was privileged enough to be at a conference organised by Puke Ariki and South Taranaki District Libraries at the right time to glean a number of first impressions. People were frustrated and confounded at the new (and new kinds of) people coming into their libraries with no idea of the way we do things. As someone who was comfortable around computers and who had some experience working in libraries with public computer systems, I spent my time assuring them that these troubles were growing pains, that they had welcomed a good thing into their midst. The one matter I heard that truly concerned me was APN’s use of filtering software.

I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity to to an APN representative a little later on last at an AnyQuestions team meeting last year in Christchurch. As an addenda to the session we were to meet one of the people responsible for the new system.

Now, diplomacy isn’t my strong suit. I have strong views on filtering. I believe we shouldn’t do it in public libraries for the same reason we don’t otherwise censor material that hasn’t been delineated as acceptable by the chief censor. I’m not alone in this – it’s based on the LIANZA Statement on Intellectual Freedom. So, I asked this person how her group justified filtering given this particular foundation of public library practice.

I’d like to say her response was articulate and forthcoming, that she described the evolution of thought that underpinned this to me quite major decision, but she wasn’t. My question was dismissed and, I gathered, somewhat tiresome. The filtering question was a closed one. I was bringing up irrelevancies.

I didn’t then have any kind of standpoint to pursue this matter, so it just had to remain a questionmark in my head. A more recent piece of information (care of a longtime internet associate, Thomas Beagle) demonstrates that internet filtering has been happening at the top level in New Zealand for at least a little while, care of the Department of Internal Affairs. Thomas’ article (and its predecessors – please follow his tags as the link isn’t parsing in WordPress) detail efforts by the government to introduce an at-this-stage-voluntary system of filtering to ISPs in New Zealand.

All of which says to me that filtering is simply a part of the way government in New Zealand is looking at the world, and APN can’t be held to blame if its political taskmasters have required filtering as a requirement for greenlight. If this is the case, it certainly goes a way to describing why an open question asked by an information professional in a room full of information professionals was answered with obfuscation.

So filtering’s here to stay. Computerworld NZ suggesets it might not be all that bad. But what is the longterm effect of it? I’m speculating,but I have an anecdote from my personal experience that might paint a part of the picture.

A few years ago I had the acquaintance of a teenager who was a regular in the library at which I was working. He came in to use the computer centre, so he was a good young brain to pick for a young view matters digital. He was a big bebo fan and I asked him whether his school had filters to prevent him using it when he should be studying.

Yep, he answered, but it didn’t matter much, because they used proxy servers to get around the filters.

What happened, I asked, when the schools found out about the proxy servers?

They block them, he replied, but it only takes us a few days to find new ones to use.

So you see, I believe what filtration actually does is to train young hackers well. You can come up with the best system in the world, and I’d still rather we spent the time and effort in getting to our young people and educate them honestly, acknowledging their power and ability in the digital world.

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Digital Preservation, it’s a vexing issue, and one that I find a distinct lack of thought has been put into. Specifically not only the transformation of physical artifacts into digital, but also the preservation of digital only media. I feel the loss of materials entering the local archive from “the bottom drawer” is of real concern. Much of what would have been considered people’s personal papers that might have been cleaned from the desk and deposited are now kept virtually only. Where will people go to attempt to understand the minutiae, the little things that mean so much in the moment they are sent or received. Like love letters, congratulatory cards for engagements, or photos of those special moments in our life. So much are now kept in digital format only. Who keeps those little txts from our partners, which previously would have come in hardcopy? Sure this is an old issue, with many such ephemera being lost, but in this digital world the scope for loss is so much more. Cell

How much easier is it to simply delete what could be potentially important historical artifacts? How many drafts, emails and letters are being lost to the development of the continuing historical repository through obsolescence of software? These are questions that need to be asked beyond the Archival and Information/Records Management professions. 

I have previously blogged on this topic at Tararua Library and would like to repost some of the content here:

So what is happening out there in the digital preservation area?

In the transformation of physical media to digital media, the APN, as part of it’s third wave has introduced mechanism’s for local communities to establish Kete’s or localised digital repositories. This is great, and we at Tararua Library are looking to establish one here. Watch this space.

 The other area is the preservation of digital media. The National Library recently did a project where they took a snapshotof what is on the Web from New Zealand. Which is good, but they haven’t finalised access, or even a mechanism for a continuing process. They also only grabbed websites with the .nz suffix in the url, and a few selected sites…

This begs the question as to who will archive and store shots of blogs like this. In theory I, or whoever looks after this blog later, can simply delete the lot and it will be lost. So who is responsible for this bit of social history in the making? Who is going to record or archive, say important National blogs like Public Address or Kiwiblog? Or who is going to archive local blogs like mine? Who is storing our emails, the bottom draw papers that used to end up in the local archives? Also how do we find them? What sites are out there who engage our local community? Or describe that local digital community?

Penny Carnaby the National Librarian is also interested in this and recently gave a speech called Delete Generation- citizen-created content, digital equity and the preservation of community memory which I regret not being able to attend.

PCPosted on behalf of Penny Carnaby, National Librarian/Chief Executive, National Library of New Zealand

Colleagues, I am giving a presentation to the IFLA conference in August and I’d really appreciate your help with it. Here’s a link to a post on the LibraryTechNZ blog with the transcript and video of a lecture I gave earlier this year, titled the “Delete Generation- citizen-created content, digital equity and the preservation of community memory”.

I’m looking to build on that presentation, to get wider views across the New Zealand Library sector on the areas I cover around the preservation and protection of digital assets, particularly in relation to communities and citizen-created content.

I’d love your help, so please have a look at the video or read the notes, and post your ideas, comments or views on the blog. It’ll all go towards my final presentation for IFLA.


Fortunately for me she has posted on a National Library blog a transcript and video of the talk. She is taking the speech over seas to IFLA and is seeking more input.

This is an area that needs leadership, and so I encourage you all to read, view and feedback.

Before it is too late.

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