Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Citizen Preservation, A vision for the future.

I attended the ANZREG (Australia & New Zealand Regional EndUser Group) conference in Wellington this week.
We were privileged to have the NZ National Librarian (Penny Carnaby) speaking about the National Digital Heritage Archive (NDHA) as well as other projects such as the National Resource Discovery System, the concept of kete (basket of knowledge) and a whole lot more.

She talked a lot about the way the internet is evolving, web 2.0 concepts bringing content creation to the hands of every day people and how that is changing the way content needs to be archived and preserved.

This got me thinking, if web 2.0 if all about giving ordinary people the tools and resources they need to produce content, shouldn't we also begin to put the tools and resources in people hands to preserve and describe their content?
Preservation isn't exactly a foreign concept to most people, I mean people collect stamps and antique furniture, they rewrite grandma's favorite chocolate cake recipe in a new book so that is wouldn't get lost. We all like to hold on to family heirlooms and all manor of odds and ends. So is there a place for a national library, or in that sense anyone to make tools and resources available to everyday people and set them loose to protect and preserve their content, history, and the like?

I asked that question (Slightly more succinctly I might add) of Penny Carnaby, and I love her response. Note: This is stated as I remember it, not even slightly 'word for word'.

"Imagine this picture, A elderly man walks into the national library, his grandson reaching up to hold his hand. Under their arms are books filled with old New Zealand and international stamps collected over the decades. Together the two sit down at computer and begin to scan in and annotate the collection, making it available to the world."

It is such a nice picture isn't it? The people who care about the data, the people who have the data, are able to release that data so that others have access to it. I don't think from any stretch of the imagination that the national library will undertake to build such a system, but it is a vision of what the future maybe like.

I don't know about you, but I'd love to see it happen!

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