Books all lined up so you are looking at their covers. The covers are lovely colours.

Digitisation Plan 2019–2022

The digitisation plan 2019–2022 sets out the National Library’s priorities for digitisation over the next three years. We aim to update the digitisation plan annually in August.

Te huri mōhiotangi hei uara — Ngā Tohutohu Rautaki ki 2030 | Turning knowledge into value — Strategic directions to 2030

The Library's strategic plan ‘Te Huri Mōhiotanga hei uara — ngā tohutohu rautaki ki 2030 — Turning Knowledge into Value – Strategic Directions to 2030’ was published in December 2016 following stakeholder and staff consultation.

The mission states that:

the National Library will create cultural and economic value for New Zealanders through leadership and collaboration. We will remove barriers to knowledge, ensure New Zealanders have the skills to create knowledge and preserve knowledge for future generations.

Te Huri Mōhiotanga hei uara — ngā tohutohu rautaki ki 2030 — Turning Knowledge into Value – Strategic Directions to 2030

Background to Digitisation Plan 2019-22

The National Library works with stakeholders including iwi Māori and other partners to enable New Zealanders to access knowledge and share it more easily. Digitisation is one of the ways in which this is achieved. This three-year plan outlines how we will work to digitise our own collections and how we will collaborate and partner with others in digitisation initiatives so that physical knowledge resources that are important to New Zealanders are digitised and made available online. The plan will be reviewed and updated annually.

This plan replaces and is informed by the Digitisation Strategy 2014-2017. The National Library of New Zealand ‘Turning knowledge into value – strategic directions to 2030’, published in December 2016, provides the strategic vision and context for the Digitisation Plan 2019-2022. The Crown’s Strategy for Māori Language Revitalisation, Maihi Karauna, and the Digital Government Strategy inform the broader context in which the Library operates.

Digitisation is defined as the end-to-end process that transfers analogue materials to a digital format. It makes it possible for knowledge resources to be processed and transmitted using computer technology enabling preservation, online access and new methods for discovering and reusing knowledge. This document focuses on digitisation of analogue material already held. Collection of born-digital objects is covered in the National Library of New Zealand Collections Policy and is not within the scope of this document.

Digitisation Strategy 2014-2017 (pdf, 1.3MB)
National Library of New Zealand Collections Policy

Our Mission

The National Library will create cultural and economic value for New Zealanders through leadership and collaboration.

We will remove barriers toknowledge, ensure New Zealanders have the skills to create knowledge and preserve knowledge for future generations.

Our principles

  • We lead and collaborate
  • We are trusted experts
  • We develop literate citizens
  • We inspire knowledge creation
  • We champion equity of access

Definition of digitisation

Digitisation is defined as the end-to-end process that transfers analogue materials to a digital format. Born-digital objects are not in this plan’s scope.

The steps in the digitisation process and where that process connects to delivery and digital preservation.

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There are four goals for digitisation 2020-2021. Each goal has been broken down into actitivies and sub-activites. The four goals are:

  • build digitised collections for enhanced access and use
  • increase capability to digitise at scale
  • make more te reo Māori resources more readily available
  • measure the impact of digitisation

Specifically, in 2019-2020 we will:

  • continue, by working with our partners, to digitise newspapers and periodicals for Papers Past
  • continue to digitise for preservation, including audio-visual material
  • begin digitising items listed in Books in Māori, 1815-1900: an annotated bibliography — Nga tanga reo Māori: nga kohikohinga me ona whakamarama

The business units involved are:

  • Learning and Literacy
  • Collection Services (Alexander Turnbull and National Library of New Zealand)
  • Digital NZ
  • Office of National Librarian
  • Digitisation (Alexander Turnbull and National Library of New Zealand)

Goal 1 — Build digitised collections for enhanced access and use

Objective 1 — Deliver on funded digitisation outputs efficiently and effectively

1.1 Agreed digitisation targets delivered through Alexander Turnbull Library and Content Services work programmes

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
1.1.1 Newspaper digitisation programmes
1.1.2 Collaborative newspaper digitisation programme
1.1.3 Periodicals digitisation programme
1.1.4 Annual digitisation of access and preservation items from Alexander Turnbull Library (including Audio-visual)
1.1.5 Public requests fulfilled
1.1.6 Investigate sustainable funding options

Objective 2 — Explore and evaluate new methods to increase digitisation and access to digitised content

1.2 Pilot projects delivered and evaluated

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
1.2.1 Investigate digitisation at the point of acquisition
1.2.2 Evaluation of existing commercial partnerships to digitise heritage material onsite.
1.2.3 Release of digitised content as open data
1.2.4 Pilot text capture of handwritten documents
1.2.5 Scope functional requirements and potential collections for digitisation
1.2.6 Book digitisation programme made available on Papers Past

Objective 3: Improve digitisation workflows

1.3 Tools and processes are investigated and improvements implemented

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
1.3.1 Implement software for automated quality assurance checking

Objective 4: Increase involvement with stakeholders for system wide digitisation initiatives

1.4 Actively engage with external stakeholders to identify common areas of interest.

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
1.4.1 Increase diversity of collections by working with different communities
1.4.2 Learning & Literacy identify items to support teaching, learning, and reading engagement and digitised collections can be used across the whole school sector.
1.4.3 Collaborative periodicals programme to be scoped

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Goal 2 — Increase capability to digitise at scale

Objective 1: Understand what is important to New Zealanders to digitise and develop a transparent approach to prioritise digitisation activities

2.1 Develop prioritisation framework for the library

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
2.1.1 Explore ‘what is important to New Zealanders’
2.1.2 Develop a prioritisation framework to support the selection of content for digitisation.

Objective 2: Prepare to scale up digitisation

2.2 Methods for achieving digitisation at scale are investigated and implemented

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
2.2.1 Research and document requirements for processes and technology to support scaled up digitisation programme/s. For example, workflow management
2.2.2 Explore collaboration and partnership opportunities working with publishers, licensing bodies and other stakeholders
2.2.3 Investigate digital delivery through Papers Past of material already digitised by external agencies including development of guidelines for agencies wanting to digitise.
2.2.4 Explore opportunities for an Archives New Zealand and National Library joint digitisation programme
2.2.5 Investigate how access might be provided to New Zealand content already digitised and held within national and international repositories e.g. digital repatriation.
2.2.6 Implement audio-visual digitisation project starting 2021

2.3 Increase the Library’s rights research and copyright capability and capacity

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
2.3.1 Implement across the library collections
2.3.2 Investigate need for a copyright & rights specialist to develop and implement policies and guidelines across the Library

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Goal 3 — Make more te reo Māori resources more readily available

Objective 1: Increase the amount of te reo Māori material that is digitised and available online

3.1 Digitisation of te reo Māori is prioritised

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
3.1.1 Work with iwi to identify digitisation priorities and scope
3.1.2 Digitise items identified in Books in Māori and make content available online through Papers Past
3.1.3 Digitise serials that are of importance to Māori
3.1.4 Deliver Alexander Turnbull Library annual programme of digitised items of Māori content
3.1.5 Complete analysis of unpublished collections to identify te reo Māori content for digitisation
3.1.6 Literacy and Learning identify items for digitisation to support teaching, learning and reading engagement
3.1.7 Complete Te Upoko o Te Ika partnership work

Objective 2: Increase the accessibility of online te reo Māori collections, including sound and film

3.2 Work with iwi Māori and other partners to improve accessibility of digitised material

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
3.2.1 Research and develop approaches to improve online discovery and interaction with digitised te reo content for speakers in support of language revitalisation, research and scholarship. Books in Māori priority for years 1 and 2
3.2.2 Expand the use of Māori Subject Headings Ngā Upoko Tukutuku to support a te ao Māori lens (i.e. relationship/whakapapa based) on digitised material internally and across the GLAM sector
3.2.3 Develop strategy and policy for open data sets related to te ao Māori
3.2.4 Develop a policy on access and indigenous rights in consultation with iwi.

Goal 4 — Measure the impact of digitisation

Objective 1: Develop consistent measures that can be used over time

4.1 Develop and implement a framework for measuring the impact of digitised resources

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
4.1.1 Documentary heritage hui to explore frameworks for impact measurement

Objective 2: Share stories that illustrate the impact of digitisation

Activities 2019–2020 2020–2021 2021–2022
4.2 Document stories that show the impact of digitised content in enriching the cultural and economic life of New Zealand

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Appendix 1 — Digitisation end-to-end process

This process was developed by the Digitisation Working Group as part of the Strategic Partnership between National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand.


Stage Detailed step
Select Selection for digitisation
Stakeholder engagement
Rights management
Assess Collection characteristics
Condition assessment
Collection location


Stage Detailed step
Project approach Filename requirements
Capture standards
Equipment / software requirements
Data storage requirements
Design monitoring requirements for output
Skill assessment
Delivery mechanism
Cost / Resourcing
Retention Retain originals
Retain digital object
Digital Preservation


Stage Detailed step
Prepare Retrieval
Conservation treatment (including microfilm duplication)
Capture Text capture
Post processing incl. colour correction
Text correction
Enrich Phonetic / voice/ face recognition
Assembly complex objects (incl. epub, pdfs
Measure output against targets
Refine Refine Project methodology
Quality checks – Validation
Quality checks – Image and textual
Accept Customer acceptance
Record metadata
Online publication


Stage Detailed step
Describe Harvest for use in discovery tools
Publish Customer use
Stakeholder management
Monitor Digital Preservation

Print the National Library of New Zealand Digitisation Plan 2019–2022 (pdf, 730KB

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Feature image at top of page — detail of some of the letters and diaries digitised in 2013, composition by Ish Doney. For more information read Ish's blog Off at last the goodbye would have been too awful.