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National Digital Library

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I was asked to kick off a set of 7x7 talks for the National Library of New Zealand as they tried to figure out what the "National Digital Library" should be and do. I threw a few grenades in a provocative talk.

Published in: Technology

National Digital Library

  1. 1. National Digital Library Nat Torkington
  2. 2. (1) The context
  3. 3. 7. Purpose of National Library The purpose of the National Library is to enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand and its interchanges with other nations by, as appropriate,— (a)collecting, preserving, and protecting documents, particularly those relating to New Zealand, and making them accessible for all the people of New Zealand, in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga; and (b)supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries in New Zealand; and (c)working collaboratively with other institutions having similar purposes,
  4. 4. 7. Purpose of National Library The purpose of the National Library is to enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand and its interchanges with other nations by, as appropriate,— (a)collecting, preserving, and protecting documents, particularly those relating to New Zealand, and making them accessible for all the people of New Zealand, in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga; and (b)supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries in New Zealand; and (c)working collaboratively with other institutions having similar purposes,
  5. 5. 7. Purpose of National Library The purpose of the National Library is to enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand and its interchanges with other nations by, as appropriate,— (a)collecting, preserving, and protecting documents, particularly those relating to New Zealand, and making them accessible for all the people of New Zealand, in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga; and (b)supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries in New Zealand; and (c)working collaboratively with other institutions having similar purposes,
  6. 6. 7. Purpose of National Library The purpose of the National Library is to enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand and its interchanges with other nations by, as appropriate,— (a)collecting, preserving, and protecting documents, particularly those relating to New Zealand, and making them accessible for all the people of New Zealand, in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga; and (b)supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries in New Zealand; and (c)working collaboratively with other institutions having similar purposes,
  7. 7. 7. Purpose of National Library The purpose of the National Library is to enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand and its interchanges with other nations by, as appropriate,— (a)collecting, preserving, and protecting documents, particularly those relating to New Zealand, and making them accessible for all the people of New Zealand, in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga; and (b)supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries in New Zealand; and (c)working collaboratively with other institutions having similar purposes,
  8. 8. NLNZ’s Digital Activities • Collect, preserve, protect, and share cultural heritage ... ONLINE. • Supplement other libraries ... ONLINE. • Work collaboratively with other institutions sharing purpose ... ONLINE.
  9. 9. (2) The Internet
  10. 10. The greatest machine yet devised for making copies
  11. 11. Two-way
  12. 12. Groups and conversations
  13. 13. Connects people across space and time: open source, crowdsourcing, ...
  14. 14. End-to-end principle: innovate at the edges
  15. 15. Platforms (APIs, widgets, gibberish)
  16. 16. The Cloud
  17. 17. Cloud = making something someone’s else’s problem over the Internet
  18. 18. “we don’t have all the smart people”
  19. 19. “create more value than you capture”
  20. 20. (3) Fit
  21. 21. Lot we can do • Digital acquisition (harvest) • Digital preservation (scanning) • Digital access (web, audiovideo, APIs, CC) • Digital collaboration and support (groups, cloud)
  22. 22. (4) Harsh reality
  23. 23. We gots no $
  24. 24. There’s more offline work than we can do.
  25. 25. $ are rivalrous
  26. 26. Revenue is scarce and speculative
  27. 27. Government departments are frightfully conservative
  28. 28. Sod it
  29. 29. (5) Let’s dream
  30. 30. Vision All NZ’s literary+ heritage digitally findable, usable, and preserved for generations to come.
  31. 31. Google digitises everything • Because you can’t afford to do it any other way. • Because other nations are doing it and we don’t know what the benefits will be. • What if it all goes horribly wrong? Stop doing nothing because you’re afraid of doing something. Just stop it.
  32. 32. Distributed Proofreaders improves it • Scans by anyone aren’t great. • OCR is crud. • Crowdsource corrections and updates.
  33. 33. Turnbull’s backlog cleared by the crowd • Boxes without descriptions for individual items • We can fix that!
  34. 34. Search and tagging makes it findable • 1.5 million books • 1 million photos • 60,000 maps • Umpty maps, drawings, paintings, and ephemera
  35. 35. A Useful Corpus Fuels Research • The country has a useful corpus of meaningful text • Universities and polytechnics build programmes around it: computer vision, natural language processing, search, user interfaces • New Zealand becomes world leader in these disciplines
  36. 36. Free content spreads NZ culture • Out of (c) works go online • Someone else profiting is a success • Inefficient to charge for it • Promote NZ culture to NZ and • ... we get the world for free
  37. 37. NLNZ catalogue is built for the web http://natlib.govt.nz/photo/ http://natlib.govt.nz/photo/18236 http://natlib.govt.nz/book/ http://natlib.govt.nz/book/183745 • Survives software change • Gives people something to talk to • Lets you collect links
  38. 38. Platform Services • Libraries: you don’t have to do it yourselves • Scan your stuff too • Hook into our proofreading • Value proposition: We’ll host it for you, you just worry about content.
  39. 39. (6) Some keys
  40. 40. Core competency of IT
  41. 41. Digital integrated, not segregated
  42. 42. We can’t do it all ourselves
  43. 43. Another competency will be partnerships
  44. 44. You shouldn’t do it all yourselves
  45. 45. This isn’t about you
  46. 46. It’s about all New Zealand
  47. 47. Thank You

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