Search This Blog

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dealing with the Digital Deluge

Today, I attended the following talk organized by Professional and International Relations (PIR) of NLB.

NLB PROFESSIONAL TALKS (20 vacancies are available for LAS members)

Topic of today's talk:

Dealing with the Digital Deluge: NLNZ's Role in Shaping the Strategy and Delivery for New Zealanders

Speaker: Ms Sue Sutherland,
Deputy Chief Executive, National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ)
Director, National Digital Library, National Library of New Zealand

Time: 3.00pm - 4.30pm

Venue: Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library Building

Ms Sue Sutherland, Deputy Chief Executive of National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ), is also the Director at the National Digital Library, NLNZ.

With immense experience in the library and information profession, Ms Sutherland outlined in her talk the digital content framework NLNZ is working on and describe some of the initiatives that are addressing the challenges we all face in living and working in the digital age.

Here is the website cited in her presentation:



DigitalNZ is an initiative that aims to make New Zealand digital content easy to find, share and use. This includes content from government departments, publicly funded organisations, the private sector, and community groups.

DigitalNZ is a collaborative initiative led by the National Library of New Zealand and work with a wide range of contributing institutions and organisations. The tasks of DigitalNZ is to test and develop approaches that increase the amount of New Zealand content flowing through the Digital Content Life Cycle.

It sees the need to create and digitise more New Zealand content to stay digitally connected to national stories, creations, knowledge and culture.

DigitalNZ does not have a copy of the items in the collection. Instead, it holds metadata about items in other collections, together with a pointer to the content object.

DigitalNZ therefore behaves much like a search engine, except that the metadata is highly structured.


From a librarian's point of view, it is a national union catalogue of digital contents. The union catalogue is just a catalogue which helps users/searchers to locate items available from various sources. It serves as a pointer for searchers. It does not provide the actual ditigal content, yet link the content or content providers with the users.

The first step to build the database and make DigitalNZ conprehensive is to source for contents contributor.

Here are some information extracted from


Participation in DigitalNZ is free, and potentially means:

* your content will be easier for people to find, through the DigitalNZ search engine

* people can build their own mini search engine to find your content - you could make one too!

* new tools and applications created by other developers (using the API) bring more people to your website

* options to share content through other DigitalNZ projects are available to you, such as the remix campaign we ran last year.


To learn more about the development of DigitalNZ, visit the blog at:


To understand how the interface works, visit:

Here is some information extracted from the page:


About the API (Application Programming Interface)

The metadata available through DigitalNZ comes from content providers across the New Zealand cultural and heritage, broadcasting, education, and government sectors; as well as local community sources and individuals. Geospatial and commercial content is coming soon.

Our goal is to uncover hidden or buried New Zealand content such as images, audio, video, interactives, and documents, and make them available for discovery and use.

We only collect metadata for the content, so these APIs will point you to the online items made available by our fantastic content contributors.

We hope you'll use this metadata to do good and wonderful things, create new experiences, and demonstrate the value of sharing data.


After listening to the talk, I have a question

What’s an API (Application Programming Interface) ?

I search the blog and found some entries in the search result page that provide more information:

"In short, it’s a way for software applications to ‘talk to’ each other, and a way for developers to ‘talk to’ applications. We use an API to share data with other applications."

"The Indicommons website summarises it like this:

"Open APIs allow services and collections to become interconnected, the experience of outside developers to be engaged, and new tools and spaces to be fashioned to benefit the community at large."

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen two new examples that really demonstrate the joy of a ‘joined up’ web of data. Both Te Papa and Auckland City Libraries have recently launched systems that draw links to content from other organisations into their local search experiences. Take a look below to see the DigitalNZ API in action.

Via the API you can submit a query to our search index and it will return information about the various NZ images, audio, video, magazines, documents, and web pages that we're aggregating. We're working with a wide range of content providers from across the New Zealand cultural and heritage, broadcasting, education, and government sectors; as well as local community sources and individuals."

About the speaker:

Ms Sue Sutherland is highly regarded by the library and information profession both within New Zealand and internationally.

In April 2007 she was awarded a Leadership Development Centre Fellowship that recognised her as one of New Zealand's leading public servants. In her professional life, Sue was President of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) in 1991 and in 1997 she was awarded a Fellowship of the Association.

She was also involved for seven years in a group of international librarians sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation. In addition, she had led the development of the draft New Zealand Digital Content Strategy and also organised the first New Zealand Public Libraries Summit in 2007.

With her rich experience, the talk is informative and insightful. I think those who attended will find her message valuable!

Interesting point about the talk

This talk is made possible by Ms Ngian Lek Choh, Director, National Library of Singapore who learnt about Ms Sue Sutherland's transit at Changi Airport and invited her to visit NLB. She is having her holiday now and being a librarian, her holiday before home ended with a visit to a National Library overseas and a talk to share her experience in "Dealing with the Digital Deluge".

Even though the talk is a brief one, it is informative and insightful. I think those who attended the talk like me, will find her message valuable!

If you missed the talk, you may view the following ppt I found on SlidesShare which have some info on DigitalNZ

LAS Professional Development Scheme (PDS) Points: 46
(Applicable only to librarians who are participants of PDS)

No comments: