It’s in the interest of organisations from across the private and public sectors to maintain long-term access to digital content for a variety of reasons – from enabling scientific research to the preservation of cultural heritage.
The recent Future Perfect Conference 2012 – Digital Preservation by Design was an exciting opportunity to connect with experts and colleagues from across the globe to discuss the how, when, and why influencing the design of systems can support digital information so it remains accessible into the future.
The conference and follow-up activities at Archives New Zealand also highlights how in New Zealand we are working together domestically and in a broader international context to achieve common goals and share knowledge and expertise.
You can read more about the conference and the Government Digital Archive Programme in this issue of Ngā Tapuwae. We also have an update on the availability of Land Information New Zealand indexes and a fascinating online exhibition tells us more about finding gold in days gone by.
On 1 February this year I put in place a new structure for Archives New Zealand and central to this are the Client Capability and the Holdings and Discovery teams. Our intent is to have a more streamlined operation – from managing the records coming in, to their on-going viability while in our care and ultimately providing their timely access to customers. Integral to this is our work with agencies where we set the record keeping standards to enable them and us capture the information we need.
All the best
Chief Archivist and General Manager
Archives New Zealand
A significant milestone has been achieved for staff working on the Government Digital Archive Programme with the successful transfer of the first items into the archive – however, the process isn’t as straightforward as moving digitised material from one place to another.A number of boxes need to be ticked to ensure the process is accomplished smoothly and effectively, and to ensure the documents remain readily available both today and more importantly in the future.
Senior Advisers Digital Continuity Jan Hutar and Euan Cochrane
Included in the material being transferred is a large number from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) as well as from Archives New Zealand’s War Art collection – a total of 33 terabytes. Initially some of these files were rejected as not compatible with the digital archive, creating some interesting work for Senior Advisers Digital Continuity Jan Hutar and Euan Cochrane.
“The LINZ files that came to Archives after the LINZ regional offices were closed were digitised using different software and the resulting files sometime don’t follow the ‘rules’ of a standard TIF file,” says Euan.
“These and the War Art files were initially rejected by the system and we’ve had to put a process in place to ensure the transfer and ingest into our long-term preservation system is simple for us and will in turn be simple for our customers.
“File errors compromise the ability to preserve them long-term, and to support effective government we need to make sure the knowledge and information in the archive stays easily and readily accessible,” says Euan.
Getting it right has put Jan’s expertise in digital preservation to good use. From the Czech Republic where he worked at the National Library for six years, Jan has been with Archives for just two months.
Jan has also worked on European Union digital preservation projects and says previously it was all about digitisation, but now it’s all about digital preservation.
“Digital preservation is an important issue in Europe – it can cost millions of dollars to digitise material and we have the technology to do this. What we have to do now is make sure this investment pays off.
“Digital preservation is the way to safeguard digital information for the future and particularly the born-digital material.
Programme Manager Alison Fleming says, “Coming up with solutions now means we can help our customers to ensure the material coming into the digital archive is transferred quickly and efficiently.
“We are also developing policy to ensure digital transfers work with the maximum efficiency for all parties and we will be working with our customers to achieve this.
“As part of this process we are consulting with archives overseas about their policies and practices so we can learn from this experience. We have five pilot transfers from Government agencies coming up later in the year which will also be crucial in testing and refining our thinking.”
Land information Index records
stored at Archives New Zealand
Researchers wanting access to land records will have a valuable tool at their finger tips now the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) index books have been digitised, says Archivist/Archives Advisor Jonathan Newport.
“These important historical records were transferred to Archives New Zealand from LINZ in early 2010, when the LINZ processing centres were closing,” he says.
“They cover land transactions from the very early history of New Zealand (1850s) through to 1924 and include records of sales, leases, mortgages, wills and conveyances for land throughout New Zealand.”
At the time of the transfer all four of the Archives offices in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland got records covering their regions. This meant each office took in literally hundreds of record books.
“These records had been well used when they were at LINZ so it was important to ensure people still had good access to them. The best way to achieve this was to digitise the index books,” Jonathan says.
The digitisation, a collaborative project between Archives, LINZ and New Zealand Micrographics, started in mid 2011 with the indexes for the Dunedin, Otago and Southland regions. The project was completed early this year with the last indexes for the Wellington region achieved. The full set of digitised indexes is available on Archway.
Volunteers at Archives New Zealand’s Auckland Regional Office are working to make details about gold mining in the Coromandel much more accessible to the public.
Land information Deeds Index books
stored at Archives New Zealand
BACB A562/21/92 - [c.1895]
This plan of the New Hauraki Gold Properties
shows Bay View township to the west,
with Bridson's store marked
They're busy indexing records of some Warden's Courts which will make them searchable through Archway, Archives New Zealand’s online search engine. The Warden’s Courts handled all mining applications and settled mining disputes.
An online exhibition has already provided interesting insights about what it was like to live and work in the Coromandel goldfields.
Complaints about poor roads, a lack of police protection and a declining population are revealed in correspondence to the Superintendent General in 1874.
A register of patients at Thames Hospital highlights three men injured in an explosion at the Caledonian Low Level mine, as well as a range of maladies from excessive bleeding to rheumatism.
From 1862 Warden's Offices were responsible not only for the local management of gold mining and the resolution of disputes, but also the allocation of residence, business and machine sites, water rights, administration of agricultural and pastoral leases, and the hearing of civil and criminal suits within the district.
These Warden’s Office records feature extensively in the exhibition and include applications for rights, registration of claims and claim plans.
Alluvial deposits found in the Coromandel district in 1851 were the earliest discovery of gold in New Zealand.
Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives C-3A 1899.
This photograph shows the Coromandel ranges between Coromandel town and Kennedy’s Bay in 1898
with the Hauraki mine in the foreground,and Bunker’s Hill, Blagrove’s, Kapanga and Tokatea behind
Honey is considered to be a health food, although it is also a form of sugar and nutritionists warn against using honey as a sugar substitute. Royal jelly, also used as a health supplement, is secreted from the glands in the heads of worker bees, and is fed to all bee larvae, whether they are destined to become drones (males), workers (sterile females), or queens (fertile females).
National Beekeepers Association of NZ Quarterly
(Vol II, No.1, January 20 1940) box 7 [R20080827]
A New Zealand beekeeper at work
Even more important to some is the role of bees in pollination, which has been badly affected by pesticide misuse and the varroa mite.
Mary Bumby brought two hives of honey bees from Sydney to the Wesleyan Mission Station at Mangungu, Hokianga, in March 1839. Her brother John had been appointed the Superintendent of Missions in New Zealand. While New Zealand had two native species of bees neither was suitable for producing honey.
Mary Bumby who was born in Yorkshire in 1811, kept a detailed diary from the day she left home to the birth of her first child in New Zealand three years later. Her diary includes graphic accounts of her first impressions of New Zealand.
Archives New Zealand has a range of records relating to bees, honey production, research papers, honey exports, government inquiries, right through to the varroa mite.
An interesting development in the National Library space …
Providing library users with more direct access to local and international collections is the objective of Kōtui, the shared library management service which has been launched in several regions across the country in recent months. The shared service gives access to all holdings on their bookshelves as well as e-books and information held in international catalogues and databases. All users need is their local library card and they’re in business.
Waimakiriri District Libraries joined Kōtui on 15 March. Their Libraries Manager in a media release, on 13 March, talked about the significantly improved accessibility that Kōtui will provide. “A single search will identify not only the books on our shelves but also the latest information contained in online journals that we subscribe to,” says Phillipa Ashbey, district Libraries Manager for Waimakiriri.
Kōtui has also been launched in Whanganui and Palmerston North in recent weeks. It is already available in Marlborough, Taupō, New Plymouth, Nelson and Tasman. It is expected to be available in 15 districts and cities by the end of 2013.
Go to: www.kotui.org.nz/
Get the dates 1-7 May into your diary now and find out more about scandalous activities over history. Scandal is a word that conjures up emotion and for good reason. And if we’re honest many of us are interested in it if not outraged or shocked by it! With “scandal” the theme for the Records and Archives Week 2012 there should be plenty on offer including the salacious, outrageous, mischievous and corrupt. Records and Archives Week is a national event.
You can find out more at http://www.aranz.org.nz/Site/events/RAW_2012.aspx
Get the dates 1-7 May into your diary now and find out more about scandalous activities over history.
Journalist Jim Eagles came to Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office last year as part of his journey of discovery to link back to his family in the UK.
Jim’s great-grandfather Francis Eagles hails from Bloxham in Oxfordshire and Jim was keen to find out more in order to answer the question – “Who do you think you are?”
His research took him back to Bloxham and also to Archives New Zealand where he was assisted in his research by Archivist Fiona Clark. View the full New Zealand Herald article to find out more about the journey.