Tag Archives: digitisation

Notes from Wales #lianza11 #keynote4

Andrew Green (on Wikipedia) Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru National Library of Wales
Notes from a small country

Small country. Has only smasmodically been its own political entity – mostly dominated by England. One of the first countries to become industrialised. Employment dominated now by public sector and light industry. Welsh and English are the two official languages. Number of Welsh speakers increasing thanks to efforts to develop it as a living medium in school and everyday life.

1997 decision in referendum to move much power from Westminster to Cardiff. Most areas of public policy could be addressed by people directly elected in Wales. Some hoping for full federalism or even full separatism. Currently in period of nation-building.

CyMAL (=a joint eg in the body): Museums Archives and Libraries Wales.
Has helped public libraries upgrade/build new buildings. Encouraged growth of regional consortia. Monitoring standards in Wales. Funded all-Wales catalogue and initiative to give free online access to reference and family research resources in libraries.

But still a steady drain of resources, including professional staff. Trying to get cross-border cooperation.

People’s Collection Wales – Casgliad y Werin Cymru – online showcase of culture. Can log in, upload, create own scrapbook, create a trail or follow a trail, create a map to link in with mobile device.

Libraries are public goods. Noone should be prevented by lack of means from taking advantage of GLAM institutions. Prefer to deliver digital knowledge for free and without restriction. You can register for no charge and little formality. Can’t always negotiate licenses for as wide access as want, but do the best. When creating/digitising material, insist it’s available for free without charge or need to register.

Keep core services, core permanent staff, then use grants/funding for special projects.

Theatre of Memory project to digitise whole history of Welsh corpus. Want to build an alternative National Library – not bound to physical building which will be inaccessible for many. Will be the largest online corpus to date of material in the Welsh language.

Welsh is a precious asset, needs to be protected by government and people in everyday lives. Libraries play a big role in this. Librarian developed Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru Welsh Books Council. Policy to treat Welsh as equal to English – it’s actually the language mostly spoken within the library so Green mostly uses English only when speaking with users.

Archifau Cymunedol Cymru Community Archives Wales – a project from CultureNet.

Digital Inclusion Wales

Library acts as de facto national archives – only official documents go to National Archives in London.

Report developed: Twenty-twenty: A long view of the National Library of Wales.
Online usage will increase bringing new opportunities and threats. Plateau of people entering buildings; number using it online increasing hugely every month. Digitising will open up collections hugely. Challenge of how to fund without restricting access or losing ownership. Need to move into sound/moving image. Have to address copyright (government may be doing something with orphan works). Interactive library in infancy. Social networking and crowdsourcing currently experimental, will develop to bring library and users together.

Physical library? (Refers to Y Llyfrgell by Fflur Dafyddebook here) Libraries becoming cultural centres. National library has thriving programme. More visitors for cultural use than for reading.

Working with authors to preserve their work in The Welsh Literature Archive Project.

Need to learn how to scrounge, beg, borrow. Also to keep our heads high!

Academic chair in Digital Collections in the national library – may be a first worldwide. Generating project work, fundraising. To do academic work on this but also help national library to maintain and innovate in digital collections. Example of moving forward, not just retrenching. Need to extend existing collaborative initiatives into new areas.

Q: Digitising up to 1910 – why not further?
A: First digitisation programme was 20th century so ventured straight away into in-copyright material. Second programme wanted to do as much as possible without copyright. Stopped there after taking advice – had to be conservative – left them on safe ground (originally going to stop at 1900). Copyright is 70 years after death of author so even 1910 might be trespassing on copyright. Also issues of trademarks. May need to retreat from that conservatism in future especially if Westminster government changes copyright law especially re orphan works.

Q: Do you have to measure impact re artists-in-residence, and how do you do it?
A: Difficult question, and do get asked it! Don’t offer firm data. Can talk about outputs eg how many kids have been through schemes, but can’t measure imaginative gain on part of children. But plenty of anecdotal and personal evidence from teachers and children of the effect on them.

Q: How do you speak Welsh internally when only 20% of Welsh speak it?
A: Policy is to be bilingual so any job interacting with users staff have to speak both. Not all in library speak Welsh, but definitely those with contact with public. Nothing in charter says this, it’s just something they do and always have done, and people regard library as an organisation that will do this.

Q: Is there an expectation of multiculturalism?
A: Not legally but yes. Not always easy – some of oldest immigrant communities were in Wales. Cardiff had oldest African immigrant population in UK. Not always easy – issues with bringing material away from Cardiff where it belongs – but do have initiatives and have links with communities/organisations.

Links of interest 23/11/09

Library Society of the World brainstorms library terminology:

Unshelved (the library webcomic) has launched Unshelved Answers, where librarians can ask question and get answers from fellow librarians. There’s a nice system of voting and rewards points to ensure quality control by the community.

The National Digital Forum 2009 conference is in progress; the hashtag on twitter is #ndf2009. Announced there, Make it Digital is offering two $10,000 awards for organisations wanting to digitise NZ content.

Due to popular demand, DigitalNZ announces Collaborative digitisation of the AJHR.

Google Scholar adds full-text legal opinions from various US courts.

The Ithaka report on What to Withdraw: Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization “analyzes which types of journals can be withdrawn responsibly today and how that set of materials can be expanded to allow libraries the maximum possible flexibility and savings in the future.”

The Swiss Army Librarian writes (with photos) about printing a book from Google Books on one of Google’s Expresso book-on-demand machines.

A new equity emerges

citizen-created content powering the knowledge economy
Penny Carnaby
abstract (pdf)

Just when we thought we had the web2 environment sussed, it’s about to get more exciting for librarians world-wide. A new equity is emerging which puts individual citizens in the driving seat for the first time.

Every day someone is deleting something on the web. We’re all part of the delete generation. Hana and Sir Tipene O’Regan talked about the loss of indigenous languages.

As librarians we need to take responsibility for preserving information.

Building blocks
Roll-out of broadband
National Digital Heritage Archive
Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa
Digital New Zealand
data and information reuse
NLNZ New Generation Strategy

New government has endorsed the digital content strategy. Talks about life of asset from creation to access to sharing to managing and preserving.

Information on two axes from private public and from formal informal.

National Digital Heritage Archive. If we’re taking citizen-created content as seriously as formally created content, how do we go about preserving it? What do we curate – porn, hate sites too?

DigitalNZ has put over 1million NZ digital assets online in one year.

Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa – cornerstone of allowing citizen-created content. Allows local kete to emerge all over, through libraries and marae. Extraordinary emergence of citizen-created information collections.

Idea of creating a virtual learning environment in every school, founded on govt-supplied broadband. Ministry of Education looking at how APNK works and thinking about how that could work if it was in every New Zealand school. (Me: Whee!)

International colleagues see New Zealand as an “incubator country”.

Announcement: Will be digitising the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives. (Me: Whee again! This has been much-requested and will be a very valuable asset.)

As of February this year, with digital heritage archive, “we refuse to be part of the delete generation”.

New equity emerging. Kiwis from all walks of life creating solutions to harness and preserve. Each of us has contributed to New Zealand emerging as a digital democracy.

Kei hea te taunga mai o aku kupu?

(Where will my words rest?)
Terehia Biddle
abstract (pdf)

Archives NZ is official repository for Treaty of Waitangi and other historical documents.

Relationship objectives with Māori

  • Can act with respect but question is whether Māori feel respected.
  • Trust and have confidence
  • [missed two]


  • Treaty obligations
  • legislative requirement under Public Records Act 2005
  • Waitangi 262 claim (flora and fauna) with respect to cultural and intellectual property issues – brought against Crown by 6 iwi asserting Crown breach of Treaty by agreeing to international agreements that affect indigenous flora and fauna and intellectual property rights, eg commercialising sacred knowledge

Building blocks

  • Statement of intent – responsiveness to Māori as a strategic priority
  • business planning documents and performance measures have sections covering responsiveness to Māori
  • Individual performance-based reviews from the general manager down

It’s hard to build a relationship with Māori if internal infrastructure isn’t set up to support it.

In last 5 years has been an increase in the number of iwi requests seeking assistance to support their efforts to access information; increase in number of iwi/hapū organisations seeking solutions in management of iwi records and information. Recognise that there’s an ongoing expense attached to maintaining records. Looking at working collaboratively. Some movement from full repatriation to virtual repatriation.

Important to have conversation first rather than make assumptions about where conversation is to go. Easy to forget the large population group you’re serving when you’re dealing with just a few people face-to-face.


  • establish precedent for future Māori-ArchivesNZ relationships
  • create win-win situations between ArchivesNZ and Māori
  • Hands-on cultural awareness training for staff

Projects they’ve worked with:

Kai Tahu – pilot project selecting items that local hapū Ngāti Tūahuriri had. Turned out they had a system set up so ArchivesNZ only needed to create hyperlinks and they could make sure that information that was only for their people would remain secure; whereas information that could be shared with the public could be made public. Was some concern about how much information should be shared. Some didn’t feel comfortable sharing it; others pointed out that their people lived across the globe. So now have mechanisms in place for those who can prove whakapapa.

Currently Taranaki Reo revitalisation Project. -Language identified as being in state of decline. Identifying and digitising records.

Tūhoe project to identify historical records re land area now known as Te Urewera National Park.

Common themes:

  • one size doesn’t fit all
  • Māori are clear of where they want to be positioned in the work, discussions and decision-making process
  • aware of significant role ArchivesNZ can play in Treaty claims
  • want to be part of solution

Guiding principles

  • build a strong relationship with māori
  • competency in te reo and (local) tikanga adds to credibility
  • kaumātua provide guidance and advice – to get into communities, and talk to people, kaumātua open the door
  • iwi determine the scope for the research
  • iwi determine the criteria for quality of data – needs to be Māori-intuitive
  • involved in all phases of project, determining milestones, etc
  • iwi-nominated kairangahau (researchers) are appointed to do the work.
  • protocols re distribution of product rests with iwi
  • work conducted in a culturally appropriate way
  • database that identifies items of significance needs to comply with ArchivesNZ standards and meet needs of iwi
  • don’t compromise originals
  • be clear about what is possible
  • when necessary, say no – gently
  • manage expectations and relationships well

Q re breakdowns in relationship
A: it occurs mostly when we let our ego get in the way and aren’t willing to say we’re wrong. Need to keep focus not on ourselves / our department, but on people we’re wanting to encourage.

Q re records that might be borderline on what should and shouldn’t be accessible
A: records will always be controversial, it’s a matter of interpretation, fortunately iwi-nominated researchers pull out only records that they believe are of significance to them, so it helps that they’re the ones making the decision.

Q re pay of researchers
A: Up to recently salary came from ArchivesNZ baseline budget. The researchers come in and learn all the jobs there so leave with good experience too.

Q re whether there’s any homogenisation of Māori viewpoint vs iwi differences in a national organisation
A: Not their job to make judgement, it’s about each iwi. Each iwi have their own mana.

Q re Māori-intuitive finding aids
A: Have been working on this since the Tainui project – this became the platform on which they can improve so they now have a template. 16 fields to complay with professional standards, now have added to this fields to include names of people and places mentioned in the records. Have tried to keep it simple as are looking to the database being usable by pākehā colleagues.

Links of interest 9/7/09

An essay on the serials review process.

The Global Legal Monitor, published by the Law Library of Congress in Washington, offers an RSS feed for updates for all news stories as well as RSS feeds broken down by topic and/or jurisdiction.

Make it Digital by DigitalNZ has guides, voting for what NZ resources should be digitised (the AJHRs are currently in the lead) and a place to ask and answer questions about digitisation.


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