The digital library currently contains over 7500 reports dating from the 1950s until today, with more reports being added all the time. These reports have been available on request since 2007; however the upgrade now means that searching the library is far easier and reports are able to be directly accessed.
"This is one of the most important sources of archaeological information about places in the country," says Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Manager Archaeology, Vanessa Tanner.
"It is a huge repository of information that will be of interest to many people including researchers, landowners, legislators, iwi, archaeologists, local authorities – and those interested in learning more about our amazing archaeological heritage."
The revamp of the library has made it more accessible, speedy, modern and user-friendly. Perhaps the biggest change is that users can now download the reports themselves instead of emailing to request the reports they wanted. Making it easier to use will increase its audience and, most importantly, increase the appreciation of our precious archaeological resource.
The online library will be accessible to anybody who has access to the internet around New Zealand and the world, and the information will be available 24/7 – potentially a valuable tool in protecting archaeological sites.
Users of the digital library can search reports by keyword – including geographical location – as well as other filters like report date, author, iwi, year published and territorial local authority.
For digital library project manager and Heritage New Zealand Senior Archaeologist, Kiri Sharpe, the venture was a labour of love and was the next logical step in making the huge number of hard copy reports more widely accessible.
"I’ve been interested in improving our digital library since I started in the role in 2010, but the big step forward was commissioning a scoping study in 2016 to identify what the current international and national standards are for digital libraries, and how we might go about improving ours to meet these standards," she says.
"It’s been a challenging but rewarding project to manage, and I feel very proud to see it through to its completion."
Powered by Greenstone, a suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections, the online Archaeological Reports Digital Library will be constantly updated as new reports are added to the library.
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Board Chair, Marian Hobbs, was delighted to be able to launch the digital library at a special function at Antrim House, Heritage New Zealand’s National Office.
"The online Archaeological Reports Digital Library is a very exciting initiative that helps fulfil one of Heritage New Zealand’s key objectives, which is to make information about the heritage of New Zealand widely available," says Ms Hobbs.
"Our archaeological heritage is unique in the world, and the accessibility of this information is really impressive. People who have internet access can explore this heritage online – whether they’re interested in learning more about pā sites, kāinga, whaling stations, gold mining sites or a range of other places. This helps to deepen our collective understanding of these sites and therefore the value of this knowledge base."
People wanting to explore the online Archaeological Reports Digital Library can follow the link: https://www.heritage.org.nz/protecting-heritage/archaeology/digital-library
Contact for more information:
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
tel: (04) 470 8055 DDI or 027 608 9537