Aotearoa People's Network

Kete New Plymouth makes 10,000

You might be forgiven for thinking that APNK is all about computing equipment and Internet connection, and to be fair, that is a big part of what we do but another aspect of our service focuses on digital content. We host a number of online repositories that library staff and members of the community add their unique, local treasures to.

These online repositories are called Kete and we host 20 or so on behalf of libraries all over the country.

New Plymouth Gas Works Light Standard
Kete New Plymouth's 10,000th item, Gas works light standard,  lights the way...

On 23 October the most heavily populated of these, Kete New Plymouth, reached a massive milestone - 10,000 digital items have been made available online, each one illuminating a different aspect of Taranaki's people, landscape and history.

To celebrate this amazing effort we asked the staff at New Plymouth's Puke Ariki Museum Library to tell us about their favourite Kete material.

Staff Favourites from Kete New Plymouth

Mike Gooch, Information Services Officer

"I have chosen the New Plymouth Prison – I guess for me it’s an example of why I think the Kete is so useful. It has current photos, web links to historic images from our archives, a link to the Historic Places Trust Report and documents relating to the closure of the prison.

"Probably best of all is that the Taranaki Sketchers have added some of their work to the topic – much better than my photos! I will also add to the topic as the debate goes on as to what to do with the prison once it closes."

Ron Lambert, Senior Researcher

"Kete has, wonderfully, allowed me to empty my hard drive of dozens of images of war memorials, halls, dairy factories and heritage places taken over the past few years – or at least to share my obsessions with researchers and students."

"I guess my favourite Kete has to be the Taranaki Dairy Factories (still being added to as we speak!) as it records the remnants of our region’s economic mainstay for the past 120 years. And the link to the Google map visually reinforces the extent of the industry in Taranaki."

"It was also a journey of discovery as tracking down the factories led me on a personal journey along the highways and by-ways of the region, some of which I had seldom, if ever, travelled before."

Christine Nana, Information Services Officer

"I don’t think I have a favourite item and it's too hard to pick a favourite basket though I'm quite partial to the Taranaki Street Names Basket, as it gives a "nutshell" version of New Plymouth/Taranaki history and also the Taranaki Sketchers Basket. I love the sketches those guys have done, they are just beautiful and we see different perspectives on what we see everyday."

Filling the Kete

We also chatted to Christine about what they add to Kete and what Kete adds to their service.

Where do your Kete contributions come from and what kinds of things are being added?

"Much of the Puke Ariki generated baskets contain information from our vertical files held in our research centre and is supplemented with archives, articles and images."

"Kete has helped us bring several sources of information together and make it accessible to our online customers. We do use it as a digital repository." 

"We’ve had community members adding to our Puke Ariki Kete as well and that’s something we’d like to encourage."
"Our community generated baskets have enabled groups to have a digital presence also. They manage themselves and at the same time help build our digital community archive. In the ideal world we’d like lots more community baskets, however we are finding that many community groups already use Facebook or similar as a digital platform so we are always emphasizing the dual role of Kete as acting as a community archive as well as a digital platform when we promote it. We are getting there but slowly."

"I also get a real sense of satisfaction when I can refer a customer to our Kete to help them with a research request."

What Kete material can we expect to see in the future? What are you currently working on?

"Trying to increase our community use, that’s the focus for me, showing people how Kete works and explaining the philosophy behind it." 

"I’m planning also to update our site homepage topic, a change there may encourage more community involvement."

"Others in my team continue to enrich the content with images, articles and research."

"Mike and Ron are often seen on Kete missions – ferreting about in archives and photographing things like buildings, churches and street signs. Which is great because our urban environment is always changing and it will be fantastic in years to come to see how it looked 'back in the day' and read some substantial history about it." 

"Sue has been doing work on the Kete homepage topics for various baskets, making them more accessible and easier to navigate."

"Bonnie is working on some information for a Marae and Pa Kete."

"We always have a steady stream of ideas for Puke Ariki generated Kete topics and sometimes have to reign ourselves in and focus on enriching our existing baskets.  We’d really like people who find themselves on our Kete really wanting to stay and explore all the wonderful things it has to offer and better still getting value from what they see and deciding they want to be involved."

So from the sounds of things they won't be stopping at 10,000 items...

Postscript: I've just discovered that Kete New Plymouth's first image was a picture of the launch of APNK at Puke Ariki. Yay!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Powered by National Library of New Zealand