First Digital New Zealand products go live

On 11 November Digital New Zealand pushed out its first two products – the Coming Home Memory Maker and the Coming Home search and search widget.

A bit of DigitalNZ background

Digital New Zealand is a programme of work, funded through the Digital Content Strategy and led by a team in the National Library in collaboration with digital content providers.

In a short sentence, DigitalNZ aims to help make New Zealand digital content easy to find, use and share. The full site goes live in early December.

About the Memory Maker

The Memory Maker is an interactive online video remix tool, that lets people mix historical film footage, digitised photographs and objects, and music/audio clips into a 60 second video that can then be saved, shared, and embedded on other sites.

The Memory Maker uses Ideum's EditorOne video editor. The focus for DigitalNZ was not on building the technology, but on working with content contributors to identify out of copyright material that could be released for re-use and sharing.

Members of the National Digital Forum worked with us to identify and solve problems around this (for example, the difference between copyright and moral rights, or whether/how content that has been released under a BY-NC-ND licence could be used in the tool).

About the Coming Home search and search widget

First up: the Coming Home search is a slice of a bigger pie. It's been built using a tool that we'll be releasing in early December. The tool will let anyone build and style a customised search using the Digital NZ API. The search will be hosted on the DigitalNZ website and people will also be able to style a widget (just like the Coming Home one here) and grab the code to drop wherever they want.

We tackled search to test problems and solutions around finding NZ content online. A lot of content is buried in databases and the deep web, and not exposed to search engines. Over the past 15 weeks we've been frantically harvesting contributors' metadata, some through OAI-PMH, most by creating and scraping site maps. This has the positive side-effect of exposing more content to search engines.

If you go to the hosted search, you'll see that we've built a faceted search interface. This demonstrates the power of great metadata and, we hope, will encourage content creators to focus on enhancing their own metadata. Closing the DigitalNZ circle, the frameworks and advice we'll be providing are intended to help them to do this.

Coming in December 2008

The Digital NZ site will be rolled out in its entirety next month. It will have sections for people wanting to contribute their metadata to the Digital NZ APIs, or wanting advice and guidance on digitisation and content creation. It will have a widget and application gallery, where people can customise, save and share their own search tools, and have a play with another application we're working on. There will also be a section for developers to learn about and access the Digital NZ APIs, and we're very hopeful they'll build cool things and then share them through the site.

Keep an eye on this blog for updates – once Digital NZ is live we'll move the conversation over there.


We haven't done this development all by ourselves. We've been working with 3Months for the front end development, Boost for the design, and Codec for the backend development using agile development processes (scrum). They've been awesome. Once we've caught our breaths, we'll blog about this some more.

By Courtney Johnston

Courtney did almost every job in the web team, and is now out in the world and in charge of everything.

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