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Armistice Day and digital collaboration

11 November 2008

Commemorating Armistice Day through digital collaboration

The First World War was one of the most disastrous events in human history. New Zealand experienced the highest per capita casualty rate than any other country with 16,700 dead and over 40,000 wounded.

The coming of peace on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 brought relief and Armistice Day on 11 November has since become a time of commemoration.

To mark this occasion two new internet tools using the latest web technologies are being released, so that all New Zealanders can access and interact with digital content about New Zealand at the end of the First World War. These tools are the first results of collaborative projects developed as part of Digital New Zealand, which is managed by the National Library in its role of collecting and preserving New Zealand’s documentary heritage and ensuring it is accessible to all.

The Coming Home search widget, developed with the National Digital Forum, will show how previously undiscovered New Zealand digital content can be found with new search tools. This forward release of the widget is currently being tested by content partners and can be viewed in its early stages at

John Garraway, National Digital Forum says “This widget will enable New Zealanders anywhere to connect with our history and understand how this has informed the nation we have become. It provides local and global access to a selection of digitised treasures and memories held by libraries, archives, museums and galleries throughout New Zealand. All National Digital Forum members have been asked to feature the widget on their websites from Armistice Day and we are encouraging more content to be added as it gets digitised for people to discover.”

Digital New Zealand’s second project, a video mixing tool called the Memory Maker, is being hosted on the Auckland War Memorial Museum website. This Memory Maker will enable visitors to craft their own expression of what Coming Home means to them by remixing photographs, graphics, film clips and music provided by members of the National Digital Forum, then share this new footage with friends and family.

John Truesdale from the National Library says “Digital New Zealand will offer all New Zealanders interactive access to a variety of rich taonga, resources, knowledge and stories from a range of organisations, communities and individuals. It will make New Zealand content of all types more discoverable, accessible and usable”.

Digital New Zealand is a collaborative project led by the National Library and funded by the New Zealand Government. It was established as part of New Zealand’s Digital Content Strategy. For further information about Digital New Zealand visit

‘Coming Home’ will continue to be commemorated until March 2009 with events, talks, movie showings, exhibitions and recitals throughout the country.
The National Library Gallery exhibition Welcome Sweat Peace: Returning home after the Great War, 2 December 2008 to 14 March 2009, draws from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library to show how New Zealand was transformed during and after the conflict.

Other organisations participating in 'Coming Home' include the National War Memorial, Archives New Zealand, Army Museum Waiouru, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, New Zealand Film Archive, the Royal New Zealand Returned Services' Association, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Royal New Zealand Defence Force, Armistice in Cambridge and local councils.
For more information go to


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