Speech to the launch of phase 2 of the National Digital Heritage Archive

  • Nathan Guy
National Library

I'm very pleased to be here today to officially launch phase 2 of the National Digital Heritage Archive, or NDHA.

Phase 1 was about developing the mechanisms to build up the collections of born digital material.  This is the ingest of material.

Phase 2 is focused on developing mechanisms for the management and preservation of the material.

This project is government funded to the tune of NZ$24 million, and I'm hopeful we can extend the gains from this investment.

This is a very important project for our nation. Earlier this morning I spoke at the Digital Continuity conference on how important it is that we preserve public records. The same applies to non-government records as well.

New Zealand's digital memory deserves our attention and investment and this is why the NDHA is so important.

An increasing amount of New Zealand's heritage is being created in digital format. It's all very well creating this great content, but if we don't keep it and look after it then we will lose incredibly valuable material.

The NDHA means we can store and preserve more of our heritage for future generations to use. Information deposited with the National Library will be secure, authentic and trustworthy.

Our school children, our researchers and universities, our businesses and communities will continue to be able to delve into, and learn about, all aspects of New Zealand's life and culture.

And who knows what form that content will take as digital technology continues to adapt and change. I wonder how many people in previous generations would have predicted the need for a digital archive today?

Looking ahead, given that most Government information is now online and increasingly digital, there are very real opportunities for other departments to leverage from the NDHA. 

The "pay once, use many times" solution means that we can prevent costly double-up of resources and extract much greater value from the original investment.

The NDHA may seem a simple concept but like many simple ideas, it's hugely complex. This project has taken a lot of time, effort, thinking and creativity to deliver.

As you probably know, government finances are very tight so I'm very pleased this project has been delivered on time and on budget. 

It has been a collaborative effort between the National Library and international partners Ex Libris and Sun Microsystems. It is a good example of how a private and public partnership can deliver an innovative and world-class solution.

Already there has been overseas interest, and a number of sales including to the Singapore National Library and the Bavarian State Library.

Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard on this project. The NDHA is the first commercially viable preservation system ever developed, which is a great achievement.