New Zealand initiatives

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2005 14:18:13 +1100

New Zealand Initiatives


Earlier this week, I attended (a) the 6th National Digital Forum and (b)
a Symposium on Institutional Repositories in Wellington, New Zealand (the
national capital). This is a brief summary of observations.


National Digital Forum

This two-day event held at Te Papa Tongarewa (the National Museum of New
Zealand) was very well attended with 245 registrations. It was mainly
devoted to questions of digitizing local and major collections and
content for New Zealanders, and the main participants were librarians,
archivists and museum people, with a sprinkling of open access people
like me, ICT experts, government, and end users (indigenous Maori were
well-represented). Jill Koeling from the Colorado Digitization Project
set the scene for the forum, together with Penny Carnaby, National


The Forum was set in the context of the recently announced National
Digital Strategy and the National Content Strategy. (Anyone interested in
national strategies should read them, It is not yet clear where these
very important and clear documents will take New Zealand, but they are
supported by all tiers of government, all political parties, and
generally amongst the population. Inadequate spread and high cost of
broadband technology was evident, and attacking this is a component of
the strategy.


A sensitivity for indigenous culture was clear, and the need for
selective and customizable restrictions on material to conform to local
and cultural needs. Involvement of Maori in projects from the start was
strongly supported by all. Many of the key professional people speaking
or contributing at the forum were Maori, so this is a theme which will be
implemented without question. The concept of &#8216;New Zealand
Online&#8217; (a central portal for access to New Zealand&#8217;s
resources) was strongly pushed as an overarching theme. Three communities
of Authoritative Providers, Communities and Business were identified, and
three themes of Content, Communication and Confidence.


I&#8217;m not doing justice to the Forum and its significance, but this
is not the list for it anyway. I was just a delegate, though as usual a
nuisance in asking questions, so I will pass on.


Symposium on Institutional Repositories

100 people attended from all over New Zealand - all interested in Open
Access and Institutional Repositories - all the universities plus
Government, Crown Research Institutes, polytechnics, local communities,
etc; one packed day at the James Cook Hotel. Content ranged around making
research, theses, images, etc Open Access and software to do it, but a
theme through all presentations was talk, negotiate, plan, know your
audience, policies and people. There were addresses from ProQuest, many
speakers from Australia, and Chuck Henry from Rice University, Texas. All
the presentations are at
ack. I spoke just after lunch, and the paper of my talk can be found at


Auckland University of Technology and Victoria University of Wellington
(and one other university whose name I forget) have dipped their toes
into the water to gain experience by signing up for a ProQuest Digital
Commons service. But the highlight for me was presenting a &#8216;gold
star&#8217; (actually a small glass mini-weight) to The University of
Otago for the very first IR in New Zealand, going live with EPrints just
the week  before (after 10 days work, with a little help from Tasmania,
another island in the same latitudes).


The presentations summarized what software was on offer in this region
(or what people thought was acceptable software) in order of

 * ProQuest Digital Commons: commercial hosting and value-adding service
    at an annual cost dependent on institution size: $US19k to $US33k.
 * Fedora + VTLS (Australian ARROW project). Project finishes end 2006,
    but Fedora is open source and VTLS is commercial. Annual cost (to
    VTLS) $US20k to $US50k depending on institution size.
 * Fez (Australian APSR project based on a layer above Fedora). Project
    also finishes end 2006, but is open-source, free and sounds
    sustainable. Download from Sourceforge &#8211; but note still waiting
    for some facilities.
 * EPrints. A part of my talk.
 * DSpace. Presented by ANU which are moving their Eprints IR to DSpace.


However, only about 25% of the workshop was about software. All speakers
shared their experiences, and all emphasized the need to talk, talk
again, think and then talk again. Again talk some more, and when
you&#8217;ve talked yourself out, go and talk some more. Clarity in aims
were also stressed. Some of the presentations focused on using their IRs
for images, audio and video, notably those from Monash University and the
ANU, who also mentioned The University of Sydney as having a similar


All-in-all, a very enjoyable and productive day. I think that most
registrants went away thinking &#8216;Now, what should I do about
this?&#8217; and a clearer idea of what was involved. My thanks to New
Zealand hosts Steve Knight and John Rankin for inviting me, and also for
the way we Aussies were treated by the Kiwis.



Received on Sat Nov 26 2005 - 05:14:19 GMT

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