Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Digital Encyclopaedia Conference - Call for Presentations / Demonstrations / Workshops

The Australia and New Zealand Digital Encyclopaedia Conference will be held in Wellington on 25th and 26th November 2008 and we'd like to hear from anyone who is interested in presenting this year.

Please email me with a title, a short description of your topic and whether you have any special needs for the presentation beyond the usual computer, projector and internet access. If you would like to run a demonstration, tutorial or workshop requiring a computer lab please let us know as soon as possible. Deadline for expressions of interest in presenting: 1st September 2008


The Australia and New Zealand Digital Encyclopaedia Group is a loose affiliation of people working on, or associated with, online reference collections. We include people working on small, individual projects and members of large institutions - the definition of "digital encyclopedia" is deliberately vague so as to encompass a broad range of projects and interests. The group includes people working in eResearch and digital humanities, libraries and archives, museums, web publishing and computing science.

Our annual conference has covered such topics as:

* resource discovery services
* incorporating maps and spatial data into encyclopedia applications
* topic maps
* searching across multiple collections
* handling maintenance and workflow issues in growing projects
* metadata and tagging
* authority control
* showcases of particular digital projects

There is a more information on ANZDEG at http://jod.id.au/anzdeg/events.html

Conference Details:

Dates: 25th and 26th November 2008 with additional capacity for workshops on the 27th (Note that the National Digital Forum will be held in Auckland on the 27th and 28th November)
Location: New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.
Cost: There will be a $75 fee to cover hosting costs.
Details of accommodation options to follow.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

A rare slice of NZ railway history now online

A contributor to the last issue of the New Zealand Railways Magazine in 1940 wrote that those who had not experienced a railway train had been “cheated” and “failed to share in one of the grandest experiences of life”.

All issues of the magazine, an official publication by the New Zealand Government Railways Department from May 1926 to June 1940, have been launched online today by the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (NZETC) at Victoria University.

“The launch of this online archive is particularly interesting and important considering recent debates in New Zealand about the future of rail, and the KiwiRail ceremony in Wellington today,” says Alison Stevenson, director of the NZETC.

The magazine was produced during the economic expansion of the late 1920s, the Great Depression, and the years leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War.

“It was the brainchild of Prime Minister Joseph Gordon Coates, who saw it as a way of improving industrial relations within the railways, and disseminating ‘useful knowledge’ to railway workers, their families, and the public at large,” says Ms Stevenson.

In his address to railway staff in the first issue of the magazine, Prime Minister Gordon Coates said: “The object of the Magazine should be to bring more interest into Railway life, to expand its possibilities not only for personal profit but for public appreciation, to help towards conditions which make for satisfaction in all ranks within the Department, by reciprocal and mutual service, benefiting each other by the improvement of the conditions of service for all”.

Later issues broadened the Railways Magazine's horizons. Wellington journalist Pat Lawlor was engaged to write a regular literary column, 'Among the Books', and, from 1927, the magazine included a women's page, entitled 'Of Feminine Interest'.

As time went by, the Railways Magazine evolved into a general interest publication, with articles on tourism, literature, local and British history, and Maori mythology, as well as short stories and reader-contributed poetry.

By 1940, when war-time paper shortages forced it to cease publication, the Railways Magazine had published work by some of the most prominent New Zealand writers of the day, including Robin Hyde (Iris Wilkinson), James Cowan, Alan Mulgan, and Denis Glover.

The online archive also includes a brief introductory extract from Neill Atkinson's Trainland (2007), reproduced by permission of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. The publication will appeal to railway enthusiasts, as well as anyone interested in social and women's history, design, advertising, and the shape of New Zealand's pre-war literary culture.

This project was run in partnership with Wellington City Libraries and the Alexander Turnbull Library, and can be viewed at http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-corpus-railways.html