Feature Image: Collaborative digitisation

Collaborative digitisation

The Collaborative Digitisation Programme adds more newspapers to Papers Past, using the combined resources of community groups around New Zealand. Every year, we invite applications for new additions. Find out how it works and how to apply.

What is the collaborative digitisation programme?

Every year we invite community groups to collaborate with us in adding more newspapers to Papers Past.

Papers Past

The collaborative digitisation programme

You can apply to be part of this programme if you have a newspaper title you want to digitise and add to Papers Past.

We’ll get it online and split the costs with you, 50/50.

Applications for the 2020/2021 programme are now closed.

Papers Past

How does it work?

You can get into the programme three ways:

  1. Digitise this year: If your newspapers are already microfilmed, they can be included right away — we digitise microfilm because it’s cheaper and easier than doing the original papers.
  2. Microfilm for next year: If your papers need filming we’ll do that now, and digitise them in next year’s programme.
  3. Letter of acceptance: If your submission is accepted but you need funding, we’ll supply a letter of acceptance you can use to help fundraise for next year’s programme.

What happens if I'm accepted?

Successful applicants sign a digitisation agreement with us, laying out the work to be done, timeframes, and costs.

We then bring your microfilms and newspapers into our regular digitisation workflows. Your paper benefits from our economies of scale and over a decade of practice, keeping the costs down.

Once they’re ready, the files go up on Papers Past and into the National Digital Heritage Archive for long-term preservation.

What type of material is considered by the collaborative digitisation programme?

To be accepted:

  • Your material will need to meet the Library of Congress definition of a newspaper.
  • Digitisation is easier if the paper is out of copyright, however, we will look at titles up to the end of 1950. If you have a title that is post-1920 and are unsure of the copyright, please contact melanie.lovell-smith@dia.govt.nz.
  • We also prefer to start new titles at the beginning of their runs and avoid gaps if possible. We’ll still consider all applications.

Digitising Putaruru Press and New Zealand Times

The Library already has permission to digitise the following titles:

  • Putaruru Press 1923-1950
  • New Zealand Times 1921-1927

If you are interested in helping with either of these, please contact melanie.lovell-smith@dia.govt.nz.

Apply for the collaborative digitisation programme

You can download the ‘Collaborative Digitisation Application Guide 2020/2021’ to see the whole application process and learn how to make your application.

You can also have a look at a sample digitisation agreement.

For information about Papers Past have a look at the Papers Past factsheet.

Collaborative Digitisation Application Guide 2020/2021 (pdf, 365KB)

Sample digitisation agreement (pdf, 146KB)

Application form — Collaborative Digitisation (pdf, 1.35MB)

Papers Past factsheet (pdf, 495KB)

How far will my budget go?

You’ll pay an estimated $0.35 for each frame of microfilm – usually a page. Below, you can work out a general estimate of the costs involved with various sizes of newspaper.

The actual costs will be worked out after your submission has been accepted, and you’ll be invoiced later.

Tell us a bit about your paper and your budget


Feature image from Papers Past, Opunake Times, 29 November 1946. Page 2 advertisements