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Aotearoa People's Network

Kete Tasman – Making New Zealand history accessible

Hosting and computing resources provided by the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa are helping make a unique local historical resource more accessible.

Kete, an online digital repository hosted by APNK as well as scanning and computing facilities are allowing staff and volunteers at Richmond Library, Tasman District to upload and share First World War information with a broader audience.

Remembering The Soldiers of Tasman

Richmond Library holds an invaluable local historical resource in the form of the WWI Roll of Honour folders. These 3 large binders contain records and information on all the men of the Tasman area who fought in The Great War. Painstakingly compiled by volunteers these binders were donated to the library in 2005 so that the public could have access to the unique information they contain. In some cases this includes soldiers’ diary entries and photographs.

However, the size and unique nature of the binders meant that access could still be problematic. Louise Gribbons, Assistant Library Information Services, explains –

“Customers had to come into the Richmond Library to read them, which meant a 3 hour drive for some people within our district. The ring binders are also very heavy, meaning elderly and disabled customers were really disadvantaged. “

Sharing Local History Online with Kete

In December 2012 Richmond Library staff, like Karen Dickerson, Local History Librarian (pictured), with the permission of the original compilers, began scanning and digitising the content of the binders which document the military details of nearly 500 Tasman men. Using their APNK scanner and computers they have added this information to the ‘World War I Centenary: 1914-2014’ basket on Kete Tasman.

The People’s Network hosts Kete Tasman on behalf of the library as a repository for local content, one that both library staff and members of the wider community can use and add to.

Making the rolls available on Kete Tasman as well as on a shelf has already had a noticeable effect -

“Having them online has meant they are Google searchable. We have received emails from people (New Zealand and overseas) who have found their relative – some have emailed us to see if we have further information.”

Adding Community Stories

The online Roll of Honour represents a useful resource for Tasman residents on its own, however the collaborative nature of Kete means that additional information from other sources can always be added. Potentially locals and family members can give a fuller story of the lives of Tasman’s WWI soldiers.

“We are hoping to inspire families and other organisations to add their World War I materials to the Kete.”

October 2013

Image credit: Lawry Page's Memorial Card (Tasman District Libraries Kete) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

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