The Digitisation of New Zealand’s Research, Heritage and Culture

10:50am 16 September 2010

Nigel Stanger
Dr Nigel Stanger MNZCS

Lecturer, University of Otago

Over the last 25 years, it has become possible to digitise and store an ever-increasing amount and variety of material.

New Zealand has been a leader in this area, with early initiatives such as the New Zealand Digital Library in the mid 1990s and the more recent Digital Content Strategy promoting the idea of digitising New Zealand’s research, heritage and culture and making it available online.

The government is committed to ensuring “New Zealand will be a world leader in using information and technology to realise its economic, environmental, social and cultural goals” (New Zealand Digital Strategy, 2005). They see New Zealand as world leaders in using information and technology to build globally connected science and technology research communities.

Spurred on by this vision, the University of Otago launched New Zealand’s first publicly available digital institutional repository in November 2005, which led an explosion of repositories at other tertiary institutions around the country, and ultimately the development of the Kiwi Research Information Service (KRIS) by the National Library of New Zealand. These developments have made New Zealand’s research readily available to the wider world.

These same technologies are also now being applied in non-academic areas. In 2006, the Cardrona Online Museum was launched, with the aim of storing and making available heritage materials relating to the Cardrona district. The launch attracted strong interest and has led into an ongoing project to develop a similar repository for the Central Otago region. In parallel, the Horowhenua Library Trust and Katipo Communications, Ltd., developed the Kete software to facilitate online community collaboration, and recently, the National Library began to harvest and index content from New Zealand Web sites for its DigitalNZ project.

In this presentation, we will examine these developments, their impact on the dissemination of New Zealand’s research, heritage and culture, and look forward to future developments in this area.

About Nigel Stanger

Dr. Nigel Stanger is a lecturer in the Department of Information Science at the University of Otago School of Business, where he teaches systems analysis and database systems.

He has research interests in digital repositories, distributed and web database systems, XML, physical database design, research data management and database performance.

He was the project lead and programmer for the School of Business EPrints repository, assisted with the development of the Te Tumu repository and the Cardrona Online Museum, and is currently building a prototype for the Central Otago Heritage Memory Bank.