IFLA Newspaper Conference: David Adams - National Library of New Zealand

This is a country report from David Adams, from the National Library of New Zealand. He shows Google Maps, and says, “There will be Google Newspapers. Do we even need to do this work at all? Can we just wait for Google to come around and do this for us?”

New Zealand has 1 million newspaper pages online. They have been running since 2001 in a sustainable program. There has been no funding for filming un-filmed papers, or re-filming poorly filmed content. This is a mistake, and the approach of the British Library - where the cost of repair and such is factored in - should always be taken. He also notes that the cost of filming is rising, and so the number of pages is decreasing.

The Papers Past project has 41 titles, from 1840 to 1915, across all of New Zealand. They have no aggreements with current publishers to digitize their current work, however. Currently, there is only browsing by date, title, etc. and only in large TIFF formats. This makes access difficult. They are working to fix these problems.

Their survey of the current environment for the digitization of newspapers found that there are more and more vendors providing capability for this, and there are many emerging standards like METS and ALTO. (I missed some here.) Their report on users showed that page access vs. article access is a big issue that always comes up. Their user base self-describes themselves as almost 50% “Family Historian.”

They have put out a RFP in February for work. They want to have 100,000 pages available online in a demo site by July 2006. The work comes in three parts:

  1. Microform and Digitization
  2. OCR
  3. Online Delivery via a Customized Application

After the new application exists, they will move their existing Papers Past collection into the new system in order to maintain one point of access. They will slowly OCR the old papers according to priority and budget over the next several years, and then perhaps add new content for other institutions. Finally, they want to move beyond just newspapers.

In the end, he hopes they’ll have more newspapers than sheep. :-)