Thursday, 18 March 2010

Nelson Historical Society Journal now online

We're happy to announce that the journal of the Nelson Historical Society is now available online at the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre.

Being a collaborative project between the Friends of the Nelson Library and the NZETC, the digitisation of this resource is a good example of the types of services that the NZETC is able to provide in making cultural texts available online.

The division of responsibilities between the partners fell as follows:
  • the Friends of the Nelson Library sourced the original texts and arranged for all permissions from authors for online republication of their work. The Friends also provided the funding for the actual process of digitisation.
  • NZETC provided the skills and resources to digitise the journal and host it on our webserver. NZETC undertakes to provide ongoing hosting of the journal and maintenance as part of the main collection of NZETC texts at no cost to the Friends, though the Friends will fund digitisation of new issues of the journal as they become available.

Collaborations such as this emphasize the strength of the NZETC's online publishing framework in providing a home for text-based New Zealand and Pacific cultural resources where the original guardians are unable to justify the cost of providing their own publishing and hosting infrastructure.

Approaching 200,000 pages of original content, the NZETC publishing framework has been designed to cope with large amounts of previously-published and born-digital content, and handles the content in a flexible and future-proofed fashion.

The press release about the launch follows:
More than half a century of Nelson publishing history is now available online with the digitisation of the journals of the Nelson Historical Society, thanks to a collaborative project between Friends of the Nelson Library  and the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre. 
The digitisation of the society's journals provides access to valuable local history research on a wide range of topics including people, places, businesses and events.
Tony Hunter, the president of the Nelson Historical Society, says "The society, is excited by the opportunity to present its journals to the public via the internet. These valuable and interesting documents chart the Nelson and Marlborough regions development from the 1840's and will prove helpful to any body researching this time."
A separate Friends of the Nelson Library Microfilm Sub-committee, led by Nola Leov, has been the driving force behind the project, with years of fundraising taking place to allow the project to succeed. The project required that the authors of each article give their consent for the digitisation and two years was spent tracking them down. To date all but six authors have been successfully located.
The project has been supported by the Nelson Historical Society, the Marlborough Historical Society, Nelson Public Libraries: nga whare matauranga o whakatu, the Nelson Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, the Nelson Institute and the Nelson Provincial Museum: Pupuri Taonga o Te Tai Ao.
Additionally the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre and National Library of New Zealand: Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa have collaborated to provide links from index entries in Index New Zealand to the full text of the journals on the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre.
The textual content of this project is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand license, which allows for re-use of the work for non commercial use.
Future plans of the sub-committee include the digitisation of the Nelson Photo News - a snapshot of Nelson life from the 1960s and 70s, which it is hoped will be digitised if further funds can be raised. The sub committee was previously responsible for the microfilming of the Nelson Mail.
The Nelson Historical Society was formed in 1954 with the objective of collecting archival material relating to the history of the northern part of the South Island and encouraging research.  Public meetings at which talks were given on aspects of Nelson history were held and it was decided in 1955 to publish these talks.
The first issue of the Journal of the Nelson Historical Society Incorporated was published in November 1955.  In 1981 the Marlborough Historical Society joined the enterprise and the title changed to Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Societies.
When the Marlborough Historical Society withdrew in 1996 the title became the Nelson Historical Society Journal, with publication continuing as copy becomes available.
Accessible on the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre website (, the Nelson Historical Society Journal Digitisation Project  was formally launched on March 17, 2010 at a function at Nelson Public Library and was officially declared launched by Major Kerry Marshall.
Images of journal covers available on request
For enquiries or further information contact: Karen Price - Project Manager Friends of the Library Microfilm sub-committee
(027) 238 1819 / (03) 546 6394