Close message
Skip to content

Truth and history

The rise of citizen journalist offers alternative views to officially recorded history in every tweet, blog and post. Why is it so important for libraries to preserve Facebook, Twitter and other online conversations? How would our world today be understood 100 years from now if these millions of diverse voices from around the world were lost?

See John Birmingham talk about why preserving this digital content is vital.

27 minutes with Mr Noisy

Bruce Russell is best known as a founding member of Dunedin band The Dead C and creator of the Xpressway label, which featured artists like Alastair Galbraith, The Terminals, and The Dead C themselves. He also set up the Corpus Hermeticum imprint as a vehicle to release music from his side project, A Handful of Dust, which eventually became a duo with fellow noise artist Alastair Galbraith.

Watch 27 minutes with Mr Noisy in the NDHA

This short documentary, produced by Olive Russell, Bruce’s then 16-year-old daughter, features him talking about his work with The Dead C and other projects, of which there have been many, as well as reminiscing about life in the Dunedin scene in the 1980s.

Like many of New Zealand’s experimental noise artists Russell is better known overseas, where the Dead C enjoy a cult following. The Library recently gained permission to archive the following website dedicated to the band. Compiled by American Bruce Tiffee, the site features a history of the group, news, interviews and an extensive discography.

Screenshot from a website covering the Dead C. Shows a photo of the band and links to their history, interviews, discography, and reviews.
Bruce Tiffee, The Dead C. Record page

As computers replacing typewriters have resulted in born-digital material, the musician’s manuscript paper and pencil have now been replaced with music-writing software. So too, the tape recorder and video camera have been superseded by recording devices capturing digital sound and moving image, and electronic music and sonic art works are being created on sound editing software.

The Archive of New Zealand Music preserves these born-digital collections as they were created, and that means capturing these various files in their original format. For the researcher this gives a greater understanding of how the creator worked, bringing insight from examining these primary resources in conjunction with consulting the finished product.

Along with these files comes supporting material, also increasingly in digital formats. With this comes a great variety of how information is recorded, moving beyond written accounts to oral histories either recorded or videoed, which have then been edited and made available on the internet.

In turn, the internet has become a great resource for finding information – but that content too needs to be archived. The Dead C webpage is still active but many websites of past bands and musicians have disappeared over time.

The National Digital Heritage Archive plays an important role in preserving both these unpublished documents and online websites, which are then made accessible through Alexander Turnbull Library’s finding aids. These have proven valuable resources to the library user – from the curious passer-by to the in-depth researcher and everyone in between.

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.