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Science and space

Astronomy in the 21st century produces vast quantities of complex data – the equivalent of the entire internet is generated each day. What do we do with this volume of data and how do we make sense of it? As we continue to explore the universe and reach further in the unknown, what are the challenges and opportunities ahead?

See Dr Alan Duffy talk about the 'beautiful problem' of being able to collect so much data, and why its preservation will be crucial to astronomy and to astronomers in the future:

The Library hosted a discussion of Dr Duffy's video led by science writer and broadcaster Veronika Meduna. Watch it now!

The New Zealand Computer Society Oral History Project

Norma Moffett (1928-1997) started work at the DSIR’s Applied Mathematics Laboratory in 1959 and was trained as a computer programmer in the early 1960s on Treasury’s IBM 650, one of the first computers in the country.

She was interviewed by Judith Fyfe in 1985 and throughout the interview describes the creativity of programming and her enjoyment of working with computers.

The New Zealand Computer Society commissioned the New Zealand Oral History Archive to carry out thirteen interviews with people at the forefront of the development of computing in New Zealand for the Society’s Silver Jubilee in 1985.

Listen to Norma Moffett (3 min)

Record for the whole interview

The Alexander Turnbull Library has actively collected oral histories since the 1970s and holds over 15,000 audio and video recordings of interviews and events in its Oral History & Sound Collection.

Oral histories are of substantial research value as they reflect many different aspects of New Zealand’s society, history, culture and politics and include people and groups who may not otherwise have their voices included in historical records.

Carol Canvin and Paul Anderson of Data General New Zealand Ltd, operating computers at the Am-Tech business machines exhibition at the Wellington Show Buildings in Mount Cook.
Carol Canvin and Paul Anderson of Data General New Zealand Ltd operating computers, 24 July 1978. Ref: EP/1978/2479/20-F.

The Oral History & Sound Collection includes a wide range of analogue and digital formats. In the last 10 years oral historians have increasingly created collections of digital recordings and documentation. Today all recently created projects are born digital.

Digital preservation is vital for ensuring the Oral History & Sound Collection is available for future research, enjoyment and use. The development of the Library’s National Digital Heritage Archive has meant that all born digital files – audio, video, text and image files – are safely managed and preserved for the future.

In addition, recommended preservation for analogue audio-visual formats is digitisation to international standards. The NDHA also manages and preserves our digitised copies of audio-visual items.

What do you want to keep forever?

What have you been making that you want to keep safe? Digital publications should be sent to the Library's Legal Deposit team, and the Turnbull would love to see anything you'd like to donate.

Submit your digital publications under Legal Deposit | Donate your digital items to the Turnbull

Born digital 2016: Collecting for the future.