Thursday, 22 November 2007

'Maoriland' novels made available online

The New Zealand Electronic Text Emporium, having now procured an extensive stock of 19th Century Maoriland Novels, comprising divers tales of Romance and Adventure, &c, &c, respectfully intimates to you, Gentle Reader, that these fine Works of Literature may now be perused herein ....

Under-read and undervalued novels from New Zealand's literary past are being made available for the first time.

This has been made possible through the collaboration between Victoria University's New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, the University Library's JC Beaglehole Room and the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Associate Professor of English at Victoria University, Jane Stafford says the collection of nineteenth century 'Maoriland' literature represents an important part of our cultural history.

"Although the term 'Maoriland' can evoke a world of saccharine fantasy in which heroic Maori warriors and seductive Maori maidens inhabit outmoded Victorian literary forms, this colonial literature is lively, complex and significant, and marks the beginnings of a self-consciously New Zealand literature," she says.

One of barriers to further research in this area has been that virtually everything is out of print and in some cases only survives in one or two copies, kept carefully in rare book collections. Over the last twelve months we have worked to create a freely available digital collection of the novels of Maoriland published prior to 1900. Our hope is that by increasing access to these texts, however bizarre and at times unpalatable some of the writers' opinions might be, this project will stimulate further scholarly examination and a wider appreciation for the importance of this period of New Zealand literary history.

The first thirty-two titles from the digital collection to have just been made available online and can be accessed along with an introduction by Jane Stafford. We will be adding more titles and more associated scholarly commentary next year.

As always we would be very pleased to hear any comments on the project.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Zinio Mobile Newsstand for iPhone

Further to my earlier post about the possibility of using the iPhone / iPod Touch as an eBook reader, I've just been pointed to a product called the Zinio Mobile Newsstand, which allows for reading of popular magazine titles via this device, and seems to be a very slick commercial means of delivering digital versions of print magazines.

My hunch is that we'll be seeing plenty of developments similar to this over the next year.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

The "Moko; or Maori Tattooing" Project

Kia ora koutou katoa!

A current project being undertaken here at the Centre is the digitisation of "Moko; or Maori Tattooing" by Horatio Gordon Robley and 6 associated texts. "Moko", published in 1896, contains a brief history of the practice and nearly 200 images detailing moko-ed people, moko design and mokamokai (preserved heads).

Because of the Mātauranga Māori contained within the text and the images of mokamokai we felt that we needed to consult with Māori communities as well as other groups who would be potentially impacted by the digitisation of the text. This was to ensure that we were aware of all the issues that could result from its ditigisation and to help us make an informed decision about how we would go about presenting the text online. We have now reached a decision and have made available a paper outlining our consultation process, the responses we received, the options we had and the decisions that we made. This can be found here.

Comments on the project can be left here or you can post to the messageboard at